Consumers A Bit Cheerier This Holiday Season

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WASHINGTON – Consumers are reporting a little more holiday cheer in 2010, according to the 11th annual holiday spending survey released by CUNA and the Consumer Federation of America.

The two organizations reported that more respondents in this year’s survey said their financial situation is improved (23%) than in 2009 (19%), and far fewer said it was worse this year (30%) than last (36%). “This reported improvement may help explain why more respondents said they would increase their holiday spending this year (10%) than last (8%), and fewer said they would decrease their spending this year (41%) than last (43%),” CUNA said.

“While these results convince us that holiday spending will increase this year, elements of our survey also underline the fact many consumers continue to harbor significant concerns about the economy and their personal finances,” said Mike Schenk, CUNA senior economist, in a statement. “Because of this, we expect the increase in holiday spending this season to be modest – roughly half the 5% long-run average increase.”

The CFA/CUNA survey also indicated that consumers are making greater efforts, and having some success, managing their consumer and mortgage debt. When asked how they would most likely use most of a $5,000 windfall, nearly half (47%) said they would “pay down some debt.”

Moreover, CUNA said, fewer respondents reported that they are very concerned about meeting monthly credit card payments this year (10%) than last (12%), and far fewer said they were very concerned.

 

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