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RIVERWOODS, Ill. — An annual survey from the Discover card brand has suggested that credit union card interchange income may be significantly lower this year than last.Consumers told surveyors sponsored by the Discover card brand that they would spend roughly 10% less during this holiday season than they did in previous years, the card brand said.Consumers told the card brand that, on average, they planned to spend $831 on holiday gifts this year, compared to $896 they planned from last year’s survey. In addition, more consumers (45% this year versus 42% last year) said they would spend between $100 and $500 on holiday gifts and slightly fewer (26% this year versus 27% last year) believed they would spend between $500 and $1000.More consumers (77% this year versus 73% last year) said they planned to remain within their holiday shopping budgets.“The economy is clearly weighing on many minds this holiday season, and the Discover Card Holiday Shopping Survey reveals that most shoppers are determined to stick to their budgets even as they hunt for that extra special gift,” said Ryan Garton, director of customer insights for Discover Financial Services.As in previous years, women planned to spend more than men ($965 versus $703) on holiday gifts this year. More consumers planned to spend on apparel (24%), toys (19%) and consumer electronics (16%) than on CD’s and books (14%), home items (11%) or jewelry (4%).But another survey suggested that consumers might not hold quite so firmly onto their wallets.ING DIRECT, which identifies itself as the nation’s largest direct bank or thrift, commissioned a survey conducted by Harris Interactive that was conducted in mid-November. In the survey of almost 3,000 adults, 50% of respondents said they would spend either the same as last year (45%) or more (5%).In addition, 60% of respondents said they spend at least $300 on the holidays, with 12% of those saying they spend more than $1,000.The bank saw opportunity in the results to market its savings and investment products as holiday gifts.“Holidays are a time to give, but these days, no one can afford not to save their money,” said Arkadi Kuhlmann, CEO of ING DIRECT. “Many of us are quick to give the latest toy or electronic gadget but are not nearly as comfortable giving a lasting, long-term gift that actually appreciates over time-like the gift of savings’ or the ‘gift of investments.”

Peter Westerman

Credit Union Times

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