Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fewer Consumers Expect A Jolly 2011 Holiday Shopping Season

Roughly 200 million Americans are expected to go shopping for gifts this holiday season, although with slightly less optimism than last year. According to a new Consumer Reports poll, just 33% of Americans said they expect to be happier this holiday season than last, compared to 40% who felt that way a year ago. Among the other findings:
  • One-third of consumers said they planned to spend less money on gifts this holiday season. Only 15% said they would spend more.
  • 44% said getting a good deal is more important than it was last year.
  • People will cut back on gifts for themselves, presents for their pets, decorations and holiday travel; 70% said they plan to buy clothing.
  • Other things topping the gift-giving list: electronics, gift cards, toys and cash; 55% of the respondents said they’re likely to give money.
  • Consumer Reports found that as of October about 14 million Americans were still carrying credit card debt from gifts purchased last year.
  • During the 2010 holiday season, respondents said they anticipated spending an average of $457 on gifts, but said in a January follow-up poll that they actually spent around $556, 22% more; and 45% of those who made a budget last year exceeded it – 5% went over budget by “a lot.”
  • As of mid-October, three in four Americans had not begun their holiday shopping.