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GCUA survey Holiday shoppers remain frugal
DULUTH, Ga. (12/1/11)--Georgia residents remain frugal in the face of holiday shopping, according to the most recent "Paying Attention" quarterly report issued by Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA).

The report indicated 45.1% of respondents said they intend to keep their holiday shopping budget between $100 and $500. GCUA polled more than 6,000 Georgia credit union members and collected data from credit unions statewide.

"For several years in a row, shoppers have trimmed their budgets, and we believe Georgia consumers will be frugal again this year," said Mike Mercer, GCUA president/CEO. "Many Georgians are trying to avoid going into debt, and that includes cutting back on purchases throughout the year, including during the holidays."

Other key findings of the report:

  • About 51% of Georgians plan to spend the same this holiday season as last year;
  • Savings deposits at Georgia credit unions increased 9.55% during the first nine months of the year; and
  • Credit card balances of Georgia credit union members decreased by 2.15% this year.
Consumers still are hesitant to borrow money, according to savings and loan data from more than 150 credit unions in the state. Georgians are choosing to put their savings in short-term savings accounts rather than longer-term certificates of deposit--even as interest rates hover around historic lows, GCUA said. Consumers are waiting for interest rates to increase before locking into longer-term accounts, GCUA data suggest.

For more information about the poll, use the link.

Earlier this month, results from a Consumer Federation of America (CFA)/Credit Union National Association (CUNA) nationwide survey indicated 8% of respondents plan to spend more on gifts and holiday items, with 41% of respondents saying they would spend less this holiday season. The results, announced Nov. 21, are nearly identical to the two groups' 2010 consumer predictions, when the CFA/CUNA survey found that one in 10 consumers would increase their holiday spending, and 41% at that time said they would cut their holiday spending. To read the News Now article about the survey, use the link.

Also, Black Friday sales on the day after Thanksgiving increased 6.6% from a year ago, according to ShopperTrak--a retail data and consulting firm that relies on equipment placed in stores to measure traffic (News Now Nov. 29).
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