Nielsen: One-Third of U.S. Consumers to Cut Holiday Spending

Schaumburg, Ill. More than one-third (35%) of U.S. consumers across all income levels said they are expecting to spend less this upcoming holiday season, according to The Nielsen Co. Only 6% said they expect to spend more and 50% of those surveyed expect to spend the same amount as last year’s holiday shopping season.

The survey indicated that economic concerns are also putting a damper on holiday spending among high-income ($100,000 plus) consumers, with nearly one-third (32%) of affluent shoppers planning on spending less this holiday season. Only 5% expect to spend more.

Of those consumers that intend to spend about the same as last year, half said they will make purchases at grocery stores, supercenters and mass merchandisers.

Nielsen also found that the holiday season may prove to be a bigger challenge for department and electronic stores, with almost one-third (28%) of consumers expecting to spend less in these stores this year.

Convenience and gas retailers may come out ahead this year with 12% of consumers expecting to spend more in these locations, likely related to a rise in pre-paid gas cards as gifts this holiday season.

Nielsen forecasts a 4.7% growth in dollar sales, or $98 billion, across grocery stores, drug stores, mass merchandisers and convenience stores, for the holiday shopping season.

The growth forecast, which is slightly higher than last year’s 4.5% gain, is in large part due to higher commodity prices. Nielsen projects unit sales, however, will be flat or down 0.8% vs. a year ago.