WASHINGTON–Consumers will spend 3.5% to 4% more this holiday season than last, according to a new survey from CUNA and the Consumer Federation of America.


This is the 13th year CUNA and CFA have performed their holiday spending survey, and 2012’s increase is the fourth consecutive uptick in expected holiday spending since it suffered a significant drop in 2008.

Among the findings:


• 24% of Americans said their financial situation was better than 2011, up from 19% who had that opinion one year earlier. Thirty-three percent said they were worse off, down from 37% last year.


• 49% of those surveyed said they have extra funds (not including lines of credit) available to pay for an unexpected expense of $1,000.


• The 2011 and 2012 surveys also indicate that gaps between high- and low-income families have widened over the past year. Just 11% of families with incomes $25,000 or less said they expected to spend more, while 44% expected to spend less. Only 18% of those with incomes more than $100,000 said they expect to spend more, while 31% predicted lower spending patterns this year.

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