Poll: Consumers look to control spending this holiday season

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

The NFCC began querying consumers on holiday spending habits back in 2010. Since that time consumer optimism has increased only marginally.
  • Data from years 2010 and 2011 reflect the most extreme periods of hardship, both years had 
    91 percent of respondents indicating that they would spend less or nothing at all on holiday purchases.
  • 2012 saw the most significant change since the poll began, with a four percent year-over-year drop to 
    87 percent of consumers stating they would spend less than the previous year or nothing at all.
  • There was little statistical difference between 2012 and 2013 data, with this most recent poll revealing that 
    86 percent of more than 1,400 respondents planned to spend less or nothing.
These findings support a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, which found that shoppers, on average, plan to spend about 2 percent less than they did last year.
“The statistics speak loudly, and underscore that consumers are not willing to repeat the mistakes of Christmases past by spending irresponsibly this year,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. “The persistently high rate of unemployment – coupled with the long duration of unemployment – is still a very real challenge many people are facing.”
If you’ve struggled to keep your holiday budget in the past, download our Holiday Gift Tracker to help you keep tabs on your spending and your budget.