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Consumer Spending Freeze Thawing: Deloitte

New York –
Consumers plan to spend more this holiday season, but will do so more
carefully, a new survey from Deloitte shows.

According to the
financial services firm’s 25


Annual Holiday Survey, which assesses
spending intentions and trends, the economy is still weighing heavily on
consumers, even if their circumstances are stabilizing or improving.

Among the
findings, consumers plan to spend a total of $466 on gifts, the first increase
since 2004, although the average number of gifts fell for the third consecutive
year, to 16.8. 

Specifically, six out of 10 (62 percent) of survey respondents
plan to spend more or the same on the holidays, a 11 percentage point rise from
last year’s survey and the highest level since 2006.

However, consumers will maintain a careful approach to spending, with
nearly three-quarters (73 percent) planning to change the way they shop this
holiday season in an effort to save money.  Among the changes, almost half
(46 percent) of those surveyed intend to purchase more gifts with cash than
they have in the past, and 36 percent say they have permanently cut back the
amount of money they spend.

In addition, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of respondents will
use the Internet to guide their holiday purchasing decisions. More than one out
of 10 (12 percent) will turn to social networks for information such as gift
ideas and coupons, discounts and sale information this holiday season, while
that number jumps to 25 percent among  Generation Y respondents ages 18 to

What’s more, nearly one out of five respondents (17 percent)
plans to use their smartphones in the holiday shopping process, with more than
half (56 percent) of smartphone shoppers using their devices to compare prices,
up from 45 percent in 2009.

The survey also showed that gift cards remain the present of
choice for both giving and receiving.

Still, consumers’ economic outlook is still a mixed bag. Two-thirds (66 percent) indicate
their household financial situation is the same or better than last year at
this time, a 10 percentage point rise from 2009, although fewer consumers
(39 percent) expect the economy to improve next year, down from 54 percent in

For more information about Deloitte’s Annual Holiday Survey,
including additional statistics, historical data and useful links, visit