Survey: Holiday shoppers plan to spend less; gift cards more popular in United States

NEW YORK — A new survey by Angus Reid Public Opinion revealed a number of similarities and differences between the holiday shopping habits of people in North America and the United Kingdom.

The survey found that 40% of Americans, 41% of Canadians and 49% of Britons said they plan to spend less during the 2011 holiday season than they did last year, though 16% of Americans and 21% of Canadians said they're now in better financial situations. By contrast, 39% of Americans and 28% of Canadians said they're in worse shape, compared with 55% of Britons.

Meanwhile, gift cards proved to be more popular in the United States than in the other two countries, with 62% of Americans saying they prefer to receive one, while 58% of Britons and 53% of Canadians prefer an item of some sort, and 44% of Britons and 38% of Canadians regard giving gift cards as "impersonal and lazy," compared with 25% of Americans.

Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online poll of 1,002 U.S., 1,005 Canadian and 2,006 British adults. The poll had a 3.1% margin of error for the North American respondents and a 2.2% margin of error for the British respondents. Respondents were drawn from among panelists on Springboard America, Angus Reid Forum and Springboard UK, all online market research platforms operated by parent company Vision Critical.

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