Tough economy to take toll on holiday spending

The state of the economy looks like it will take a toll on consumer spending this holiday shopping season with 35 percent of U.S. consumers across all income levels saying they expect to spend less, according to the new research from The Nielsen Company.

According to the research, only 6 percent expect to spend more than last year and 50 percent expect to spend the same amount. Having a high income doesn’t appear to affect the planned shopping scale back. Thirty-two percent of those making $100,000 or more say they expect to spend less, while only 5 percent expect to spend more.

The survey suggests this holiday season’s shopping trend may break with the past several years when consumers seemed unable to get their fill of consumer electronics, including HDTV sets. Of the 50 percent who say they expect to maintain their level of spending at last year’s level, about a third say they plan to spend less in department and electronics stores. Those maintaining holiday spending levels say they expect to spend the same amount at grocery stores, supercenters and mass merchandisers. Among this group of consumers, 12 percent expect to spend more at convenience and gas retailers.

The findings are base on a survey conducted in September of 21,000 U.S. households about their holiday spending expectations.

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