Survey: Holiday shoppers keeping tight reins on spending

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Among those surveyed, 58% of consumers said they are sticking to their budget this year, compared to 48% in 2007.

Eighty-eight percent said they will restrict their holiday spending to the same level or less compared to 2007, citing increased food, home energy costs and gas prices as key factors.

“It's going to be a dogfight for sales,” said Chris Donnelly, a partner in Accenture's retail practice.

More than half (54%) expect to spend at least $100 less than in 2007, and 22% plan to spend $250 less than last year, according to the survey.

However, Donnelly said that means retailers will have to get creative with their marketing and advertising in such an environment.

“I think you will see an aggressive season promotionally as retailers try to capture as much of the holiday spend as soon as they can,” he said. “Consumers will probably get better deals this year than in previous years.”

Almost half (46%) of respondents said they typically shop on Black Friday; but only (42%) are said they are likely to shop on Black Friday this year, according to the survey. 

Donnelly said there is likely to be a “very, very large” online spike on Black Friday, as consumers do comparison shopping and other research.

In fact, 88% said they will research gifts online before buying, but 31% have no plans to buy anything online this year.

As consumers will be more budget conscious this year, Donnelly expects that more people will do their shopping earlier in the holiday-buying season.

“People will really be trying to take advantage of the deals they can get,” he said.

Accenture surveyed 537 U.S. consumers during mid-October.

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