Amid the nation’s continuing economic woes, there remain some bright spots as far as consumer spending. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday retail sales are projected to increase 2.8 percent this year, for a total of $465 billion in November and December. And according to the Atlas of Giving, charitable giving is expected to rise 6.5 percent this year, compared with 2010.
To figure out which cities are leading the increase, The Daily Beast analyzed city-by-city data on consumer spending and charitable contributions. Using aggregated and anonymous data provided by Bundle, a leading provider of information on consumer spending habits, we included the average transaction amount for the largest 100 American cities on toys and hobbies, electronics, jewelry and charitable donations between Nov. 25 and Dec. 25, 2010.
To rank the cities, we looked at how much the average transaction increased during the holidays, compared with spending from Jan. 1 to Nov. 25 (according to data provided by Bundle). We also compared the average holiday spend in each city to the area’s mean annual wage for 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, to get an idea of which residents are spending the greatest percentage of their income (rather than just the greatest amount of money). Each of the following was weighted 25 percent: increase in spending on consumer goods during the holidays, holiday consumer goods spending as a percentage of mean annual wage, increase in charitable giving during the holidays, and holiday charitable giving as a percentage of mean annual wage.