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Poll Shows Overwhelming Majority of Consumers Will Cut Back or Spend Zero on Holiday Purchases
Thursday, November 7, 2013 6:55 AM

For the fourth year in a row, the October poll hosted on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website reveals that the overwhelming majority of consumers intend to either spend less than the previous year or nothing at all on holiday purchases.

The poll began querying consumers on holiday spending habits in 2010, one year after the recession officially ended. Taken in totality, the four-year set of data reveals only a modest gain in consumer optimism toward spending from year one to date. Combined with the fact that the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased sharply in October, it appears that consumers are still not inclined to begin spending, even for holiday purchases.

Taking a closer look at the four years of polling data reveals the following:

  • Data from years 2010 and 2011 reflect the most extreme periods of hardship, with identical results of 91 percent of respondents indicating they would spend less or zero on holiday purchases
  • The most significant jump came between 2011 and 2012, with a four percent year-over-year drop to 87 percent of consumers falling into the less or none at all spending categories, suggesting a modestly increased optimism toward spending.
  • There was no statistical difference between 2012 and 2013 data, with the most recent year revealing that 86 percent of more than 1,400 respondents selecting these categories as most representative of their holiday spending plans.

Looking at the other poll answer options, 11 percent intend to spend as they did last year, stating that their financial situation is stable, while 3 percent will spend more, feeling as though they are in a better financial position this year. These numbers are identical to 2012 results.