Consumers Cutting Back on Holiday Splurges

The November poll hosted on the National Foundation for
Credit Counseling (NFCC) website queried consumers regarding holiday
spending. The results revealed that 50 percent of consumers intend to
spend less on holiday purchases this year than last, indicating they are
in a worse financial position, while thirty-seven percent plan to spend
nothing at all, as they fear further financial distress.

While this total of 87 percent is a shocking number, when asked the same
question in 2011, 91 percent of respondents indicated their intention was
to cut back or spend zero on holiday gifts, demonstrating a positive
year-over-year trend.

“This statistic speaks loudly, and underscores that consumers are not
willing to repeat the mistakes of Christmases past by spending
irresponsibly this year,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC.

A seemingly contradictory statistic was revealed in the NFCC’s October
poll where 70 percent of those participating felt that their best
financial days were in front of them. Taken together, the two polls
suggest that Americans are both optimistic and realistic, a combination
that could lead to a brighter financial future.

“It takes optimism to endure the difficult economic times of the past few
years,” continued Cunningham. “However, it takes a dose of realism to not
become an emotional spender during the holidays. It appears as though
consumers have learned a tough lesson, and will emerge better equipped to
face future financial challenges.”

Looking at the other poll answer options, 11 percent intend to spend as
they did in 2011, stating that their financial situation is now stable,
while 3 percent will spend more, feeling as though they are in a better
financial position this year.

Holiday spending can financially make or break retailers. The same is
true for consumers. Don’t let it be your personal fiscal cliff.

The actual November poll question and responses are as follows:

This holiday season I will…

  • Spend as I did last year because my financial life is stable = 11 percent
  • Cut back on spending, since I am worse off financially this year =
  • 50 percent
  • Spend more than last year because I am in a better financial
  • position = 3 percent
  • Not spend at all, because I anticipate further financial distress
  • = 37 percent

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