Survey: 50.7% Plan to Spend Less on 2012 Holiday Shopping

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Consumers plan to spend less this holiday season than in 2011 according to a poll conducted by

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This year’s holiday shopping season will be a less-than-jolly affair for U.S. retailers according to new survey results by credit-card comparison site When asked if they planned to spend more or less on holiday shopping than last year, 50.7% of respondents said less, while 31.5% said more, and 17.8 percent are unsure.

Survey Findings:

Among those who plan to spend less this year, “shaky” job security and a desire to save money were the most common reasons cited for tighter budgets in’s 2012 Holiday Shopping Survey.

On the bright side – at least for Internet retailers – 54.5% of respondents expect to spend more money this year on Cyber Monday. However, only 41% of respondents said they will take advantage of post-Thanksgiving sales on “Black Friday.” Of those shoppers, 59.5% plan to spend less that day than they did last year.

“Given the steady but slow improvement in the U.S. economy compared to last year, we were surprised by the number of people planning to spend less money this holiday season,” said founder Charles Tran. “Even if all of the ‘undecided’ consumers increase their budgets and some of the ‘spend less’ respondents change their minds, a significant percentage of consumers will trim their holiday budgets in 2012.”

In other survey results:

  •     61% of those polled said they will use only cash to finance their holiday spending; 11.5% said they will use credit, and 25.4 percent planned to use both cash and credit.
  •     Just 5.4% of respondents plan to spend more than $999.
  •     Gift cards may be this year’s most popular gift item: 67.6% of respondents plan to put these on their holiday shopping lists.
  •     Other gifts at the top of shopping lists include:

Electronics (66.9% of respondents plan to buy these items)
Clothing (63.2%)
Books (56.8%)
Toys (56.1%)
Household goods (49.2%)
Homemade gifts (48.1%)
Movies (43.7%)
Music (36.8%)
Jewelry (33.3%).

  •     55.6% of respondents plan to spend under $300 on holiday gifts, and 28.9% plan to spend $400-$599.

“Whatever their current budgets, I think many consumers are underestimating what they’ll actually spend,” said Tran. “People may want to spend less than $300, but a substantial number will break those budgets once they get into the ‘spirit of the season’ or find ‘the perfect gift.’ By December 26th, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that most consumers spent far more than $300.”

From October 9 to October 23, 2012, polled 1,125 Americans, age 18 and over, about their holiday shopping plans using multiple choice questions and short-answer questionnaires.

To view more details from the Holiday Shopping Survey, visit frequently provides information on the credit issues, news, and trends facing Americans through proprietary market research and analysis. Visit our newsroom at to stay informed with credit card news, deals, reviews, and tips from

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Charles Tran
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