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Consumer Concerns Illustrated In CEA Holiday Report

San Francisco — CEA’s annual Holiday Sales and Forecasts survey provided several insights as to why consumers might be more conservative in their holiday buying this year vs. last.

Consumers are worried about, in order, unemployment, inflation/cost of living, wage issues, Presidential performance and war. The results are reflected in the survey’s “Mom and Dad” category wanting peace and happiness as their No. 1 “gift” for this holiday season with “family together/money” as No. 4.

When asked if the economic outlook was better or worse than last year, 41 percent said worse, a slight drop from last year’s survey, while 24 percent said it was better, a 4 percent gain.

Among the factors that could affect spending include losing a job, stock surge, stock crash, a weather event, terrorism and war.

Interestingly, consumers seem unfazed if either President Bush or Senator Kerry wins the election. The results are dead even, even in this poll. Those who say they will “spend more,” “spend less” or neither —“no effect” — are exactly the same.