Spending survey: Shoppers ready to spend more for holidays

Data suggests 4 percent increase from last year

ORLANDO, Fla. - A new  consumer survey suggests the "gradual improvement" reported in holiday spending over the last four years will continue in 2012.   

The 13th annual holiday spending survey, conducted in November by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), suggests more consumers "plan to spend more than last year, and fewer consumers less than last year."

In a news release sent to media outlets Wednesday, the CFA  said the percentage of consumers who said they would spend more than last year "rose from 8 to 12, and the percentage who said they would spend less declined from 41 to 38." 

"Our survey results suggest that holiday spending this year will likely rise by between 3 percent and 4 percent compared to last year," said Bill Hampel, chief economist for the Credit Union National Association.  "This represents the fourth year of gradual improvement in holiday spending plans since a sharp decline in such plans in 2008." 

The CFA suggests the spending attitudes may be based on "perceived improvement in their financial situation."

According to the CFA, between 2011 to 2012, "the percentage who said their financial situation was better rose from 19 to 24, and the percentage who said it was worse fell from 37 to 33."

Despite rising student debt and the looming fears over home mortgages, the survey found that people who said they were concerned about making monthly payments dropped slightly from 45 percent to 43 percent.

The survey also found that the so called "wealth gap" between high- and low-income families increased over the last year.

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