Los Angeles—Economist have been saying consumers have been cutting back on non-discretionary spending, a fact reiterated by retailers, which overwhelmingly lowered their third quarter forecasts as a result.
It’s a fact no lost on consumers either: 66% of shoppers say they feel retailers will offer better prices and discounts this year due to the state of the economy. In its first Winter Holiday Shopping Survey, PriceGrabber.com conducted online interviews with 2,887 U.S. shoppers from Sept. 13 to 25.
The survey also found that many consumers start to financially prepare for the gift giving season long before they start to purchase gifts, with 21% who said they started saving money before June.
Similar Budgets to 2012
“Our survey found that the current state of the economy continues to lurk in the minds of consumers, and shoppers expect deeper discounts this holiday season,” said Rojeh Avanesian, SVP of marketing and sales at PriceGrabber. “The U.S. fiscal concerns could play a pivotal role in consumer confidence in the economy. Retailers will need to adapt and be sensitive to consumer sentiment to maintain customer loyalty.”
Consumers are aiming to maintain similar holiday budgets as they had last year, with 52% of respondents planning to spend about the same amount on their holiday purchases as they did in 2012.
Of the 25% of shoppers who aim to reduce their holiday budget this year, 45% said they would spend less because of an increase in prices on basic necessities; 42% are making less money this year; 28% said it was acceptable to spend less on gifts because of the economy, and 11% accounted for unemployment.
But that doesn’t mean some plan to spend more, the survey revealed. About 23% said they plan to spend more on holiday shopping this year, an 11 percentage point increase from 2012.
The reason? They believe retailers will offer better prices, discounts and special deals on gifts this year. It is noteworthy to mention that 35% of shoppers who plan to spend more are doing so because they are making more money this year, and 22% said they are confident in the economy.
The ‘Hanukkah Effect’
Usually, winter holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa all take place in the month of December. However, this year, Hanukkah starts the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 27.
When Hanukkah shoppers were asked how the holiday falling over Thanksgiving will affect their shopping plans, 31% said they will choose to buy a few gifts prior to the holiday and then take advantage of deals after Thanksgiving. Another 25% percent said they will be done shopping very early, and 9% of Hanukkah shoppers said they will wait to buy all of their presents until after the first day of Hanukkah and the Thanksgiving holiday to make sure not to miss the season’s hottest gifts and bargain sales.
When Hanukkah shoppers were asked their strategy for finding deals for Hanukkah shopping, 50%. said they will look for retailers running early sales.