More Shoppers Hit Dollar Stores for Holiday Gifts

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Mark Dirks / AP

The past few years of economic struggle have been a boom time for dollar stores. One study has it that business has been so strong in recent times at dollar stores, they now outnumber drugstores in the U.S. Consumers now rank dollar stores as their second-favorite resource for buying holiday gifts (after online shopping). And now it appears that the group most responsible for dollar stores’ soaring popularity is one you might not expect: wealthy shoppers.

Let’s face it: For many people, when it comes to the piles of presents tucked under Christmas trees and stuffed into stockings, quantity matters at least as much as quality. So it’s no wonder that during the holiday season—recent holiday season especially—everyone looks for creative ways to get more, no matter what the size of the family budget.

(GALLERY: 10 Retailers Thriving During Tough Times)

In the same way that business has soared at pawn shops during the holidays, sales at dollar stores are likewise humming along.

One reason why dollar store sales are so strong, according to the Los Angeles Times, is that the chains are doing more than usual to cater to holiday shoppers. Family Dollar, for instance, is stocking 10% more toys this holiday season, compared to 2010, and is also carrying pricier gift items like MP3 players and flip cameras.

In a recent Nielsen survey, consumers named e-retailers as the top category of places to shop for holiday gifts. Holding the #2 spot on the list, though, is the dollar store. The fact that dollar stores are popular with low- and middle-income consumers should come as no surprise, especially given the economy.

(MORE: Shocker! The Rich Expected to Go on Big Shopping Sprees This Holiday Season)

What’s more surprising is that wealthier individuals are also turning to dollar stores in significant numbers. Shoppers with more than $100K of annual income are making 11% more trips to dollar stores since 2008. They’re spending more too, with the average purchase rising by 23%.

Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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