Forget a white Christmas. Things are looking a little blue for the holidays, if one goes by the Discover U.S. Spending Monitor. Sixty-six percent of consumers are planning to spend less this holiday season due to the financial crisis, according to the Spending Monitor, which fell a record six points last month to 80.4 on a scale of 100.
The findings suggest that consumers’ economic confidence reached all-time lows, while views of personal finances also deteriorated. Nearly two out of three consumers now rate the economy as poor, and 72 percent think things are getting worse. A year ago only 19 percent gave the economy a poor rating and 52 percent thought it was getting worse.
What’s more, 60 percent of those surveyed rate their personal finances as fair or poor, and nearly 56 percent said things are getting worse.
And it’s not just the middle class getting pinched: Upper-middle- and upper-income consumers are showing a significant shift in spending behavior, too. Last month, 45 percent of those making more than $75,000 were cutting back on their discretionary spending, compared to 56 percent of those making less than $40,000.
The silver lining: The October Spending Monitor numbers found that less than 40 percent of consumers are expecting an income shortfall or an added expense in the next 30 days—the fourth straight month this number has declined. The desire to hold onto cash is good for consumers, but not for a consumer-spending-led economic recovery.