POSTED: Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 12:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, October 18, 2012 - 12:34pm
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — When it comes to gifts, it's not the thought that counts. At least, not in America's wealthiest households.
Two-thirds of affluent American women want gift cards. But less than a fifth of men will give it to them, according to a report from American Express Publishing and the Harrison Group out Thursday.
Instead, 70 percent of women are gifted clothing or jewelry.
A survey of 625 households that represent the top 10 percent of the nation's wage earners found a wide gap between what people want and what they will actually get.
Men should also lower their expectations. They want food and alcohol -- a third hope to get gourmet foods and fine wine, and another third want gift cards. But women like to give none of those -- 30 percent are expected to give clothing, and another 15 percent books.
What wealthy shoppers are better suited for, is giving gifts to themselves.
Nearly half of women said they were extremely, or very likely, to buy themselves presents this holiday season. A third of men have similar intentions.
"Perhaps America is giving itself a bonus this year," said Jim Taylor, vice chairman of Harrison Group, in a statement.
Holiday retail sales are expected to increase 4.1 percent this year, according to estimates from the National Retail Federation. That's the most optimistic forecast from the group since the recession.
The American Express and Harrison Group survey found that gift giving will be down overall this year, but the top 10 percent will spend nearly 22 percent more on gifts this year than they did in 2011.