American’s caution during holiday shopping at highest level since 2013

According to the CNBC All-America Economic Survey, 41% of American shoppers said that they plan to spend less this year than last, so this holiday shopping season, they will watch their wallets closely. It is the most cautious holiday season since 2013, as average spending intentions for gifts fell about 10% from last year to $907 from $1,004 in 2021 when Americans were flush with cash from government stimulus, as per the survey.

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But Americans feel secure in their jobs this year, as wage expectations are up, and high inflation and concern about the economy and housing prices look to be sapping Yuletide spending cheer. Because of inflation, a third of Americans say they will spend less this year, while thirty percent of participants also said that they would use their credit card or other debt to finance their gift purchases, which is up 8 points from last year. So among the reasons why shoppers will reduce spending, nearly 40% cited the poor economy.

A partner at Hart Research, the Democratic pollster for the survey, Jay Campbell said: “There’s this economic malaise that we’ve seen getting more significant quarter over quarter for a year and a half now [that] really comes through pretty strongly in people’s attitudes about why they do not intend to spend as much this year,″ reported CNBC.

From November 26 to 30, the CNBC All-America Economic Survey of 801 Americans was conducted throughout the nation and found that 30% of participants said that they would use credit cards they don’t intend to pay off immediately or other debt in their holiday shopping, up 8 points from last year. The percentage is more in line with prior years, however, which means that it could be a sign of how flush consumers were with cash last year as a result of stimulus, rather than how tough their financial situation is this year. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.

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The economy entered the holiday shopping season with 4.3 million more Americans employed, while stimulus savings have run down, and inflation has sapped consumer confidence and strength. It also entered the holiday shopping season with a lower unemployment rate than in December 2021, potentially offsetting some of the downbeat spending intentions. 39% expect their wages to increase next year by a fairly robust 4.6%, while just 6% say they are very worried about their job security, and another 11% said they are somewhat worried. Many are convinced that the U.S. economy is in poor shape, regardless of the personal financial situation of individual Americans.

Here is what the poll found regarding that matter:

– 14% of those polled say the economy is good or excellent, the lowest since 2013
– 44% think the economy will get worse in the next 12 months, the fourth-highest reading in the survey’s 15-year history
– 65% believe we are in or will soon be in recession
– 38% anticipate their home values will increase in the next year

A partner at Public Opinion Strategies, the Republican pollster for the survey, Micah Roberts said: “Combined, 63% of Americans are pessimistic about the current state and the future prospects for the economy.″

“This has been over 60% all year and over 50% since July 2021,” Roberts added.

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