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The Survey Says ... Bah, Humbug

October 21, 2008
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All signs point to flat-to-declining sales this holiday season, a new survey says.

If the results from The NPD Group Inc.’s 2008 holiday spending survey are any indication, many consumers will be spending less money this holiday season. The Port Washington, N.Y.-based company said 26 percent of consumer respondents indicated they plan to spend less money this year. For the 2007 survey, only 18 percent of consumers said they planned to spend less.

“This 8 percent decline illustrates that consumers are already focused on the idea of spending less,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for The NPD Group. “For the first time, I am predicting flat-to-declining sales for the holiday season.”

Consumers also indicated they would be keeping a careful watch on their credit card spending, Cohen said, with the number of respondents telling NPD they would “spend on credit” down 2 percent this year.

Still, 63 percent of consumers said they plan to spend “about the same” as last year on the holiday season, NPD said, and 11 percent said they actually planned to spend more. Among the top items consumers said they plan to buy as gifts were apparel, toys, movies, books, electronics, video game, accessories, music, food and fragrances.

Our Take: A number of industry observers also suggest that necessities will drive sales this holiday season. Here, private label has an opportunity to give consumers more bang for their holiday buck when it comes to accessories (and stocking stuffers), personal care items, food and more.

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