DULUTH, Ga. (11/19/12)--Most Georgia residents surveyed plan to spend the same or less than they did a year ago on holiday shopping, according to the most recent poll conducted by Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA).
The survey revealed:
- 70.1% of Georgia respondents plan to use cash this holiday season;
- 12.4% plan to pay for most purchases with a credit card, down from 15.9% last year;
- 57.5% report their holiday spending will be at or below $500;
- 48.2% plan to spend the same as in 2011; and
- 48.5% plan to spend less than they did a year ago.
Retail sales for the holiday season are expected to grow 4.1%, which is less than the 5.6% increase experienced in 2011, according to the National Retail Federation.
However, growth projections may not reflect an accurate picture for most U.S. citizens. A survey conducted by American Express and the Harrison Group found that while the top 10% of the population will spend nearly 22% more on gifts than they did last year, overall gift giving will be down.
Holiday loans have been in high demand for the past several years, and Grace Lollar, president/CEO of Richmond Community FCU in Gracewood, Ga., expects this year to be no different, she told GCUA.
"Wages have not risen for most of our membership, but the cost of living has gone up," Lollar said. "Most of our members rely heavily on holiday loans to pay for their purchases."
The trend of scaling back will continue for most people, Lollar added. Consumers seeking to trim their holiday spending should immediately start making a "Santa's list," she added.
"Write down everyone you will be shopping for and set a dollar amount for each gift," Lollar said. "Then do your level best not to exceed those amounts."
Consumers will have a difficult time staying within their budgets due to rising costs of consumer goods, Lollar said. She encouraged people to be proactive next year and save a little at a time in a Christmas club account or other special savings account.
"Even if you save only a minimal amount each paycheck, it will add up over the course of the year," she concluded.
The Consumer Federation of America and the Credit Union National Association will release results of their annual national holiday spending survey on Wednesday. See related story: "CFA-CUNA to reveal consumers' 2012 holiday spending plans this week."