The best companies make a strategic choice to engage customers or satisfy them -- or both.

Americans anticipate spending $785 on Christmas gifts this year, consistent with their estimates since 2013. Nearly nine in 10 U.S. adults intend to spend something.

Americans' daily self-reports of spending averaged $91 in September, the highest for the month since 2008. The average was unchanged from August, the first time in seven years monthly spending did not fall at least slightly in September.

The image of the U.S. real estate industry improved for the fifth straight year in 2016, with more than twice as many Americans having a positive view (44%) as a negative view (21%).

Of 25 business and industry sectors, the restaurant industry has the top image score this year, with 66% of Americans rating it positively and only 7% negatively. Computers are a close second, while the federal government is dead last.