NEW YORK — Consumer purchases of nongift apparel this holiday could light up the hearts of fashion players: The category is seen realizing the biggest percentage growth in the season’s spending among a half-dozen segments like gifts, home improvements and entertainment.

Americans are projected to spend $177 for nongift apparel, on average, in November and December, up 26 percent from the $140 they spent a year ago, Deloitte’s 2003 Holiday Survey found. Consumption at that level would represent 9.8 percent of an adult’s holiday budget, which Deloitte is anticipating will average $1,803, up 8.6 percent from $1,661 a year ago.

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