Mintel's latest Christmas spending research shows that clothing, footwear and jewellery are the clear favourites for gift purchasing intentions this year. It can be assumed that clothing takes up the lion's share of the 80% response rate as it is a relatively easy purchase ­ more so than footwear or jewellery. Last Christmas most clothing retailers had a tough time convincing shoppers to buy so, hopefully, they will have learned their lesson and will have made sure there is enough interesting stock to entice consumers to part with their money this year. In second place is a group of possible gifts comprising prerecorded music, videos, DVDs and computer software. Some 72% of respondents said they intended buying at least one such gift. Books as well as toys and games appear to be popular purchases also, with nearly seven out of 10 respondents planning to buy this type of gift. The recent release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone will no doubt help fuel the sales in this sector. Perfume, aftershave and toiletries attract a surprisingly high 67% of the vote, whereas just over half of all respondents are likely to buy food and drink as a gift. Despite gathering economic storm clouds, the consumers Mintel spoke to still appeared to be in buoyant mood. Almost a third of respondents said they were willing to spend more on all their Christmas needs than they did during Christmas 2000. This is a particularly heartening sign for retailers who will be keen to experience an upturn in trade following the slowdown caused by world events since September 11. Last Christmas up to three million Britons went abroad, whereas this year the numbers should be much lower. This should help increase sales further. {{P&P }}