More consumers are planning to spend more money during the holiday season than the previous year despite a high level of concern over the federal government’s budget battles, according to the annual holiday spending survey conducted by CUNA and the Consumer Federation of America.
In total, 1,002 individuals were interviewed by landline or cell phone during the period of Nov. 7-10. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.
For this year, 13% said they would spend more compared to 12% in 2012. Those who said they would spend less decreased from 38% in 2012 to 32% this year.
“Last year in terms of forecast we said that based on our survey results we predicted spending growth of somewhere between 3 and a half and four percent. The actual result last year was an increase of 3.6%,” said Bill Hampel, chief economist at CUNA, when the survey results were released on Wednesday at the National Press Club.
“Based on this survey, we’ll use the same prediction that we did last year – that holiday spending this year will increase by between 3 and a half and four percent over last year’s results.”
Some of the questions asked of participants included whether or not recent controversies over federal government spending and borrowing had affected their holiday spending plans. In response, 51% said that their plans were affected, 18% said very much, 16% said somewhat and 16% said a little.
The majority of individuals surveyed who said they were affected by the federal government shutdown came from households earning under $50,000 per year at 59% while 37% lived in households earning over $100,000.
According to the results announced at the National Press Club, 24% said their financial situation was better than last year while 29% said it was worse. CUNA and CFA said this was the smallest gap since they began asking the question in 2009. In 2011, the gap was 18% with 19% saying their situation was better and 37% saying it was worse.
“These data are evidence of economic recovery, however modest,” said CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck.
“It is also encouraging that fewer Americans see their economic status as worsening, despite ongoing federal budget issues in Washington,” said Hampel.