Consumers Optimistic About Economy, Spending to Hold Steady in 2012

More than 51% of consumers plan to spend the same amount of money in 2012 as in the previous year, according to a 2012 Shopping Outlook survey conducted by PriceGrabber, a part of Experian. While more than half of the survey respondents plan to spend the same amount of money as they did last year, 21% indicated they plan to spend more, and 28% plan to spend less. 

When those who plan to spend more were asked to select all of the reasons why, 36% cited confidence in the economy, and another 36% said that they expect retailers to offer better discounts this year. Thirty percent indicated that they are earning more money in 2012, 6% said that they are tired of being frugal, 5% cited a credit limit increase, and another 5% have found employment in the past year. When the respondents who plan to spend less this year were asked to select all of the reasons why, 40% cited increases in prices such as gas, food and necessities; 34% said lack of confidence in the economy. Twenty-​nine percent indicated they were making less money this year, and 16% said they overspent during the 2011 holiday season.

"Our data shows that shoppers plan to remain optimistically cautious with their spending again this year and expect retailers to continue to offer deals and incentives on products," said Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. "We expect retailers will continue to roll out a number of tactics, such as free shipping, larger discounts and online-​only promotions to help win the consumer dollar this year, while implementing strategies that will span brick-​and-​mortar, online and mobile shopping platforms to entice consumers to shop."


When consumers were asked to select all of the items and activities on which they plan to spend more in 2012, more than half said consumer electronics and clothing, followed closely by travel and vacations, household supplies and dining out. Twenty-​nine percent said they will spend more on furniture, books or DVDs, followed by jewelry, toys, events, sporting goods and fitness memberships.

The daily deal industry looks like it will remain strong in 2012. Forty-​six percent of PriceGrabber survey respondents indicated that they plan to use daily deal sites, such as Groupon, Living Social or PriceGrabber's local deals category, more often in 2012 than in 2011. When consumers who plan to use these sites more frequently were asked to select all of the categories they will search the most, 53% said food and dining, 46% said shopping, 42% said entertainment and events, and 34% said family and kids.

When asked how they plan to shop in 2012, 45% of PriceGrabber survey respondents said they will combine online, brick-​and-​mortar and mobile shopping. Forty-​two percent said they will shop mostly online, 12% will shop mostly in brick-​and-​mortar stores, and 1% will shop primarily from a mobile device. According to the survey, the average shopper will make 53% of his or her overall purchases online, 42% from brick-​and-​mortar stores and 5% from a mobile phone.

[Source:  "2012 Shopping Outlook survey."  PriceGrabber.  28 Feb. 2012.  Web.  2 Mar. 2012.]