Holiday Shoppers Say They’ll Spend Less, but Then Shop More

Alden Wicker
Posted

Holiday shopping on a budget and gift cardsWhen it comes to holiday shopping and budgeting, actions speak louder than words.

A full 87% of consumers polled in November said that they would spend less or not spend at all this holiday season because of financial worries. While this may seem like a bad sign of the times, that is down from last year, when 91% of consumers said they would decrease their holiday spending, according to the yearly poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). Only 3% of consumers polled said they would spend more this year.

But are consumers following through on that promise? Well, Black Friday had a record number of shoppers this year. That could indicate shoppers are more eager than ever to save on presents–or that they’re more easily suckered into spending. Black Friday spending rose 12.8%, from $52.4 billion last year to $59.1 billion this year.

It looks like consumers had the best of intentions, then went a little overboard. No surprise there, stores use all types of tricks to get Black Friday shoppers to spend more.

Gift Cards Rise in Popularity

Consumers are also going the easy route this year. According to GiftCard.com, almost half of consumer polled this year plan to purchase at least one gift card. If you think your friend might be offended by the impersonality of the gift card, think again. With 21% of consumers saying a gift card is their favorite gift to receive, it might be your best bet.

Gift cards have another perk: they let you set the price, making sticking to your gift budget easier. 40% of consumers say they almost always or always pre-plan gift card purchases. With the average gift card purchase coming out to just $26.40, it seems like a real bargain.

Unless you buy the $450 Starbucks gift card.