Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Survey: Most consumers plan to spend less this holiday season

November 4, 2009

shopping-bagRetailers, listen up. A survey from Discover shows that more consumers believe economic conditions are still getting worse.
 
Discover’s U.S. Spending Monitor for October fell 3.2 points to 85.8 (that’s out of 100, which is where the index started in May 2007).
 
Forty-six percent felt economic conditions were getting worse. That’s up 3 points from September and the first time the survey has seen an increase since July.

Slightly more women (58 percent) than men (53 percent) rated the economy as poor. Overall, 56 percent called the economy poor, up from 52 percent in September.
 
“The Monitor has always shown that women tend to be less optimistic than men about the economy and their finances,” said Julie Loeger, senior vice president of brand and product management for Discover.  “But the record jump in the number of women rating the economy as poor and the pessimism over the current state of their finances may indicate a weak holiday shopping season ahead.”

The Discover U.S. Spending Monitor is based on interviews with 8,200 U.S. adults conducted thoughout October.

Nearly 63 percent of 5,000 consumers surveyed toward the end October plan to spend less on holiday gifts this year. That’s in line with last year’s projections, and we all know how the winter of 2008 turned out.

For the seventh month in a row less than half of consumers said they expected to have money left over after paying their monthly bills. Just 44 percent said they expected to have money left over, down 3 points from September.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Agriculture Department said more Americans than ever are receiving food stamp assistance, while personal spending fell 0.5 percent in September.
 
“Consumers simply don’t seem to have the economic or financial confidence right now to reverse course, which is not good news for retailers,” said Loeger.

(Photo/Reuters)

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