The continuing economic slump has nearly one in two Americans tightening their purse strings this holiday season. Almost half of Americans (46 percent) report they will spend less on the holidays than last year, with those living in the South more likely than any other region to say they plan to spend less this year at 55 percent. The online survey was conducted in October 2013 among 2,014 Americans ages 18+ by Harris Interactive on behalf of online lender CashNetUSA. The survey provides further proof that consumer uncertainty over the near-term economic outlook will have an impact on holiday spending.
According to the survey, only eight percent of Americans indicate they plan to spend more on the holidays this year than last year and 37 percent indicated they would spend the same as last year. Nine percent say they don’t spend any money on the holidays.
“The decline in consumer confidence is now dampening our holiday spirits,” says Megan Staton, director of marketing for online lender CashNetUSA. “Americans are focusing on basic spending and curtailing what is perceived as non-essential costs. With prices increasing and paychecks staying the same or declining, many Americans have no choice but to shorten the length of their holiday shopping lists.”
Americans who plan on cutting holiday costs this year anticipate the following reductions in spending:
- 63 percent will spend less on gifts for family members other than children
- 54 percent will spend less on gifts for non-family members (e.g., teachers or service providers)
- 43 percent will spend less on holiday travel
- 35 percent will spend less on gifts for children or grandchildren
- 30 percent will spend less on holiday meals
Residents in the Northeast part of the country (71 percent) who plan on cutting back on holiday spending this year are more likely than those in the West (53 percent) to cut back on gifts for family members other than children.
The survey also found Americans look to pay for the majority of their holiday spending with cash they have on hand. When asked, those who are buying holiday gifts this year plan to use the following liquid cash sources:
- 34 percent – money they saved all year
- 27 percent – debit cards
- 20 percent – money saved from November and December paychecks
- 18 percent – money they saved specifically for the holidays
Thirty-one percent of those who are buying holiday gifts this year indicate they will charge gifts on credit cards, 12 percent will use layaway and 4 percent anticipate borrowing money.