Retailers Getting Their Christmas Wish: Shoppers

The Saturday before Christmas is traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year.

So far during this year's holidays, retailers appear to be getting what they wanted most, the best season in years, CBS News Correspondent Anthony Mason reports.

Holiday Gift Guide
(Scroll down to watch a video of this report)

"The American consumer is back," BMO Capital Markets' John Morris said.

Americans are hitting the malls to shop for gifts.

"But because the sales were so good I bought mostly for myself," shopper Tanya Williams said.

She's not alone.

"We've seen an increase in self gifting," said Morris. "That can make the difference between a good holiday season and a great holiday season."

A recent survey showed shoppers plan to spend an average of $107.50 on themselves this year. That's $6 more than last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

"They're not afraid anymore," said Sal d'Errico, owner of d'Errico Jewelers in Scarsdale, N.Y.

Thursday night's holiday shopping party at the jewelry store was mobbed, and d'Errico said sales are up in every price range.

"There's a pulse out there," said d'Errico. "It's picking up."

Economist Lakshman Achuthan said a turn in consumer confidence is happening in front of our eyes.

"It begins to feed on itself also," said Achuthan. "You have the confidence you see with one person purchasing feeds off on another."

That's important because consumers drive 70 percent of the U.S. economy. The National Retail Federation is forecasting more than $450 billion in sales.

"Probably the strongest holiday since 2006," Morris said.

That would take sales back to pre-recession levels and make the holiday season glitter again for retailers.

  • Anthony Mason

    CBS News senior business and economics correspondent; Co-host, "CBS This Morning: Saturday"