Consumers likely to increase holiday spending this year

Staff report


A national survey says consumers are likely to increase holiday spending this year, continuing a trend that started in 2011.

Thirteen percent of consumers surveyed said they would spend more on holiday purchases this year, up from 12 percent last year and 8 percent in 2011.

Meanwhile, the percentage of respondents who plan to spend less fell to 38 percent, down five percentage points from last year.

The annual survey, developed by the Consumer Federation of America and Credit Union National Association, linked the positive results to a “perceived improvement” in consumers’ financial situations.

In 2011, just 19 percent of consumers said they were better off financially, while 37 percent said their situation had worsened. This year, that gap shrunk by 5 percentage points, with 24 percent expressing optimism in regard to their finances. That was the smallest difference since CFA and CUNA began posing the question in 2009.

But a survey of northern Ohio consumers, released last week by Huntington Bank, indicated that consumers in this region may be trimming their budgets this holiday season.

That survey found that area consumers plan to spend an average of $890 on holiday shopping, down $58 from a year ago. Consumers were split evenly on whether the local economy had improved from 2012.

Joe Bell, a spokesman for mall-owner Cafaro Co., on the other hand, said he expects a “reasonably good” holiday season with increased sales in the region.

“I don’t have any reason to believe growth will be below 3 percent,” he said last week in an interview.

The CFA and CUNA survey found that lower-income families were disproportionately constrained by federal budget problems and personal debts, which could impact their holiday spending plans.

ORC International administered the survey, interviewing 1,002 adult American consumers over four days. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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