Students adjust holiday spending habits for unstable economy

By Colleen Vest

While the stores may continue to be packed with shoppers this holiday season, most consumers are planning on spending less money on gifts and entertainment compared with 2007.

“I still think people will spend money on gifts, but they’ll go to different stores to save money,” said Joanna Bienias, sophomore in LAS. “The holidays are a tradition for most families, so parents and kids will still want to give gifts to their loved ones, but just not as expensive ones.”

Anne Villamil, professor of Economics, said the effects of the economy will have an impact on the holiday shopping season.

“With the unstable economy, unemployment is rising, so money, benefits and wages are being cut,” Villamil said. “Even the fear of the possibility of being laid off will cause people to spend money on gifts much more cautiously.”

The Nielsen Company, a global information and media company, surveyed 21,000 U.S. households in September about projected spending for this holiday season, defined as Thanksgiving week through the last week of December. According to a press release from the Nielsen Company, 35 percent of consumers surveyed across all income levels are expecting to spend less this holiday season.

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    “I know I’m spending less this year,” Bienias said. “I plan on shopping at places like Target and Old Navy where there are usually pretty good sales.”

    Stacy Kim, sophomore in general studies, said she is going to adjust her spending habits this season.

    “I am probably going to give some homemade gifts this year because money is tight, especially compared to last year,” she said.

    The Nielsen report said 28 percent of consumers surveyed are expecting to spend less in department and electronic stores.

    “I am going to cut down on department stores, not go all out, and go to places like Target instead,” Kim said.

    Bienias said people are going to have to adjust and go to different stores, like Kmart and Wal-Mart, to find better deals.

    “I am not going to be getting clothes from Wal-Mart because they’re not good quality, but I might get movies or little decorative things from there,” she said.

    Taylor Lemick, sophomore in Media, said retail stores are going to have to adjust to the possibility of more frugal holiday shoppers.

    “I think stores are going to have to offer more sales or special offers this season,” she said. “I’m probably going to shop around before I buy anything to make sure I get the best deals.”

    People may not have gotten over the shock from the housing and stock market decrease, and this shock will most likely cause people to spend less, Villamil said.

    “I definitely think the economy is a factor when it comes to holiday spending,” Bienias said. “It affects everything, and people are going to spend money on necessities before they buy gifts and other holiday decorations and things.”

    Season for spending

    The Nielsen Company surveyed 21,000 U.S. households across all income levels in September about spending for the holiday season.

    35% of consumers surveyed expect to spend less

    6% of customers expect to spend more

    28% expect to spend less at department and electronic stores

    12% expect to spend more at convenience and gas retailers