PriceGrabber: Almost half of Americans plan to spend less this holiday season

LOS ANGELES — The state of the economy continues to impact consumers' holiday shopping decisions as many plan to spend less or the same this year.

According to a new survey of 3,070 U.S. online shopping consumers, conducted by PriceGrabber, 45% said that they plan to spend less this year, while 49% plan to spend the same, compared with 2010. Additionally, more than two-thirds of those surveyed (68%) said the economic climate will affect their overall spending, with many of them attributing their decision to an increase in prices for food, gas and other necessities.

Despite having a negative outlook on the economy, 70% of consumers believed retailers will offer better prices and discounts this year due to the current state of the economy. Shoppers said that such discounts as price cuts and free shipping, as well as coupons and blowout sales, will entice them to buy (75%).

"Our survey data found that shoppers are not only expecting to find great prices and bargains this holiday season, but 53% will start shopping earlier this year to spread out the impact of purchases, and 33% are beginning their holiday shopping in October," PriceGrabber general manager Graham Jones said. "This finding implies that consumers are strategizing to capitalize on the holiday sales that appear to begin earlier in the season each year, as we just recently saw with the back-to-school shopping season. The economy's resistance to improve significantly will give retailers added incentive to lower their prices, especially as consumers have become savvier since the beginning of the economic downturn."

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