Dear readers, I posted this story about 18 hours ago, but my server went down briefly, and this offering was a casualty. The reason I included it was that, according to Google News, it had been picked up only by a few overseas news outlets, like the Turkish Press and the Straits Times, and here by Alternet and Raw Story, hardly bastions of financial reporting.
But if this survey is borne out, a 15% fall in holiday spending would be a blow to retailers and a concrete sign of a deepening consumer retrenchment. And 18 hours later, no more news outlets have picked up this item. Is there a ration of how much bad economic news is permitted per day, and this fell outside the quota?
Cash-strapped US consumers plan to spend about 15 percent less on Christmas gifts in 2009 than they did last year, a credit industry research group reported Wednesday.
On average, shoppers are expected to spend 723 dollars on holiday presents this year, compared to 831 dollars in 2008 and 896 dollars in 2007, Discover Financial Services said.
Women will outspend men slightly, dishing out an average of 742 dollars compared to 702 dollars, according to a survey by the credit group.
Some 47 percent of consumers reported plans to spend between just 100 and 500 dollars on their holiday shopping, while a quarter said they will spend between 500 and 1,000 dollars.
Nearly half (43 percent) of subjects surveyed said they plan to spend less on holiday gifts than they did last year.
About two-thirds of respondents (63 percent) said they are very worried about the state of their personal finances, a decrease from last year, when 74 percent of recession-hit shoppers reported similar concerns.
Note that even though fewer consumers are freaked out about their finances, the respondents plan to clamp down even harder on their spending this year. That suggests spending patterns are inertial.