Happy Holidays – have Americans finally learned how to do more with less?

Most Americans have been impacted by the difficult economic times that have occurred since 2008 (or even earlier for some). Being a very resilient sort, Americans have adapted to the difficulties in many different ways. American consumer holiday spending has been one of the most impacted areas.

A report that came out this morning regarding plans for spending in 2011 was eye-opening to me. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, holiday shoppers say they plan to spend out an average of $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise, down slightly from last year’s $718.98. The report is forecasting overall holiday retail sales to grow 2.8% during the months of November and December to $465.6 billion.

Average Holiday Spending

Year Spend
2004 $699.98
2005 734.69
2006 750.70
2007 755.13
2008 694.19
2009 681.83
2010 718.98
2011 704.18
Source: NRF/BigResearch, October 2011

In addition, a new shopping poll conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs shows that given the current state of the economy, 45% of U.S adults plan to spend less this coming holiday season than they did last year.
Women are more likely than men to say that they are going to be cutting back their holiday shopping budgets (49% vs. 39%), as are adults ages 35 and older compared to younger adults (49% vs. 35%).

Consumer Spend Planning 2011 Holiday Season

Plan % of Respondents

Same as last year 42%
More than last year 11
Less than last year 45
Source: Ipsos, October 2011

There are several things that I find surprising. First is that consumer holiday spending dropped from over $750 million in 2007 to $681 million in 2009 rose in slightly in 2010 and is predicted to drop once again in 2011. Second is that 45% of consumers plan to spend less in 2011 than they did in 2010. Does the idea that nearly half of Americans will spend less on holiday gifts this year than they did last year strike you as significant and interesting?

Is there a better example of how the far the U.S. is from the go-go 1990’s and early 2000’s? I hope that if there is any positive thing to be gained from recessions and economic uncertainty, that it comes in the form of people becoming less focused on simply having and receiving more ‘things’.

There’s nothing wrong with living a little more simply is there?

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver
This entry was posted in Customer Experiences, Marketing stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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