Another blas


‘tis the season to put out a holiday spending prognostication, and most of the reports we’ve seen are on the Grinchy side. The latest, from PriceGrabber/Experian, says about half of America will be spending the same as last year. Guess which way the other half breaks. But get ready – shoppers are starting early.

If you guessed they will spend more, we’d have to suspect that you’ve been sleeping under Rip Van Winkle’s tree for the past 20 years.

PriceGrabber says 49% are spending the same, 45% will spend less and only about 7% are planning to increase their spending.

68% said the economy is having an impact on their spending plans, and of those planning to spend less, 70% blame higher costs for must-have items such as food and gas.

Other factors include increased acceptance of lower-priced gifts (49%), low economic confidence (46%), lower income (43%) and loss of home/savings value (37%).

On the flip side, many of the 7% who will increase spending will benefit from lower prices, while at the same time being lucky enough to have increased their income since last year.

“Our survey data found that shoppers are not only expecting to find great prices and bargains this holiday season, but 53 percent will start shopping earlier this year to spread out the impact of purchases, and 33 percent are beginning their holiday shopping in October,” stated Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. “This finding implies that consumers are strategizing to capitalize on the holiday sales that appear to begin earlier in the season each year, as we just recently saw with the back-to-school shopping season. The economy’s resistance to improve significantly will give retailers added incentive to lower their prices, especially as consumers have become savvier since the beginning of the economic downturn.”