Consumer Reports Shows That Consumers Expect To Spend Less This Holiday Season

About 200 million consumers will engage in gift shopping this holiday season, according to the new Holiday Shopping Poll from Consumer Reports. Optimism for happiness this holiday season is at 33%, which is slightly lower than the 40% reporting expectations of happiness last year. This lowered level of optimism will affect their spending on travel as well as gift shopping. 2011 will be the fourth holiday season during a period of serious economic instability. The lack of improvements seen in employment this year have made many Americans anxious about their finances.

33% of poll respondents also planned to spend less on gifts than they did last year. This is double the rate of response for last year, which was 15%. Over 50% are planning to create a budget for their spending. Although consumers wanted to spend about $457 on gifts last year, the median amount spent was still 22% higher at $556. The number of consumers sticking to their budgets can only be revealed after the holiday season is over. 45% of consumers who were budgeting last year exceeded it by at least a little.

Other parts of the holiday celebrations will have smaller budgets in many families as well. 40% are spending less on themselves this year, and about 35% are spending less on travel or decorations. The survey was held in the middle of October and as of then 75% of people had not done any shopping yet. Over half of respondents admitted to charging some part of the holiday gift spending onto a credit card last year. 6% are even paying off the debts from last year’s spending at this time. Clothing, a practical gift idea, has become the most popular choice for this year, with 70% saying they plan to give it to family members and friends.


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