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CUNA-CFA Consumer holiday spending will improve over 2008
WASHINGTON (11/24/09)--Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Chief Economist Bill Hampel has predicted that consumer spending during the upcoming holidays could increase by as much as 3% compared to 2008’s numbers.
Click to view larger image As Consumer Federation of America Executive Director Steve Brobeck listens, CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel explains the results of the CUNA/CFA Holiday Spending Survey. (CUNA Photo)
Speaking during a press conference announcing the tenth yearly holiday spending survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), Hampel said that 43% of consumers surveyed this year said they intend to cut back their holiday spending, compared to 55% last year. “Consumers are telling us they will not cut back as much on spending as last year, but more so than in previous years,” Hampel said, adding that 8% of consumers surveyed “planned to spend more than last year,” the lowest percentage in the ten year history of the survey. The survey, which was conducted between November 6 and 9 and collected comments from 1,000 respondents, indicated that economic concerns are tops for reserved consumers, with widespread fear over unemployment, limited work hours, or current pay affecting their attitude toward spending. While 44% of those surveyed said their economic situation was similar to that of last year, 36% of consumers said their situation was worse, with only 19% of respondents saying that they were better off than they were last year. A mere 24% of those surveyed said they were concerned about meeting monthly credit card payments this year and only 42% said they were concerned about meeting all debt payments this year, and both figures represented a decrease from last years report. While many of those surveyed are still concerned about their financial condition, CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck said “it is good news that fewer people are concerned about meeting monthly debt payments this year than last.” CUNA and CFA have also suggested that consumers can keep their individual levels of holiday debt under control by sticking to a predetermined budget for gifts, holiday foods, party clothes, holiday decor and postage. Consumers will also benefit financially from comparison shopping and paying with cash or lower-interest credit union cards. Consumers can also plan for future holidays by shopping post-holiday sales for next years’ gifts and starting a holiday savings account that they will contribute to over the course of the year, or take the novel approach of curbing spending through low- or no-cost ways to celebrate the holidays, Brobeck suggested. Over 15 national and local media outlets covered Monday's release of the consumer holiday spending projections. (See related story in today's News Now: International, national, and local news outlets cover CUNA holiday spending survey.)


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