MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A widely regarded survey of Twin Cities consumers says we’ll be spending more this holiday season.

The University of St. Thomas survey says holiday shoppers will spend on average about $868 per household.

That figure is up $31 over last year, and is about $100 more than the estimated national average.

The survey also shows what shoppers will be buying and where they’ll be buying it.

In the 13 years of the studies existence, this is the most money it has ever projected local consumers will spend.

The study says confidence in the economy is the driving force behind the optimistic outlook.

At the Mall of America Janet Post, of Bloomington, was toting a large bag of holiday purchases.

“I have that little great-granddaughter that loves Frozen. So I got her about five things to do with frozen,” Post said.

As for that average household spending figure, she said she has already spent more than $800.

Rosedale Mall in Roseville came in as the top spot where local consumers say they will do most of their holiday shopping.

Experts say it’s all about the location.

“I think because it’s centrally located and it’s the closest in terms of a freeway system. It has excellent access, it’s just in the right place with the right connections,” Prof. David Brennan said.

Shopper Evan Williams agrees.

“You can get in and out very quickly and easily. But there are also a lot of other shopping areas that are around the mall where you can pretty much get everything you need done in one fell swoop I’d say,” he said.

The Mall of America came out number one for the most holiday shopping visits.

The Mall of America is getting ready by adding more parking.

They just purchased a lot with more than 1,700 spaces from the airport. It is directly across the street from the Mall’s East side.

MOA also has a new shuttle to take shoppers to and from overflow parking near Ikea.

The survey says the economy is driving the projected shopping surge.

“The major reason why Minnesotans are willing to spend more is unemployment. For the state of Minnesota its currently 4.1 percent unemployment, for the city of Minneapolis its 3.6 percent and there are some places in the out-state area that are actually below 3 percent,” University of St. Thomas Professor David Brennan said,

The Mall of America also gives credit to another factor – the weather.

“It’s very been cold, so it’s tough to do anything outside. So, people really want to come inside and escape,” Dan Jasper, vice president of the Mall of America, said.

Another interesting fact about the estimated $868 each household is projected to spend is that is up $230 dollars from 2009, which was the height of the recession.

The survey also said the top purchases will be the same as last year. The number one gift is gift cards, number two is clothing and accessories and number three is cash.

Jennifer Mayerle

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