WASHINGTON (11/24/15)--Consumers intend to spend slightly less during the 2015 holiday season than in 2014, according to the 16th annual holiday spending survey conducted by CUNA and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA).
CUNA Chief Policy Officer Bill Hampel and CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck shared the survey results in a press conference Monday.
“Holiday spending this year is likely to rise by 2.5% to 3% from the 2014 level,” said Hampel, who also is CUNA’s chief economist. “Although positive, that would be a disappointing increase considering the improved financial condition of U.S. households.”
The survey, conducted Nov. 5-8, consisted of 1,000 responses--500 landlines and 500 cell phones.
Hampel said that consumers generally said they plan to reduce spending, even if the eventual numbers do not bear that out.
“For many it’s almost instinctive to plan to not overindulge. However, actual holiday spending almost never declines,” he said. “In every year but two that we’ve conducted the survey, spending has increased. Those two years were 2008 and 2009, when we were in the depths of the recession.”
Hampel also added that most respondents generally said they aren’t planning a change in spending habits, and this year saw a “significant decrease” in that group. In 2014, 54% said they planned no change in spending habits, while 49% said that this year.
The number who said they plan to spend more saw a slight uptick in 2015, up to 11% from 10% in 2014. Thirty-eight percent said they planned to reduce holiday spending this year, up from 33% last year.
“Last year based on our survey results, we predicted a growth of somewhere between 3% and 3.5%, and actually came in at 3.5%,” Hampel said. “Based on this year’s slightly weaker results, we’re betting on an increase of about 3% this year.”
Other highlights include:
“The fact that more than two-fifths of Americans report that they lack sufficient extra funds to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense is cause for concern,” Brobeck said. “Also, the survey revealed that the proportion who said they are concerned about meeting monthly debt payments remained high and unchanged, from last year, at 43%.”