Friday, November 16, 2007

Consumers lack confidence as holiday season approaches

Consumer confidence is taking a nosedive just as the holiday shopping season approaches. In a November survey, Ohio-based BIGresearch found 37.3 percent of nearly 8,000 respondents said they were very confident or confident about economic conditions, the lowest level since June 2006. “Gas price increases may be a contributing factor and 80 percent of consumers also said they expect prices to hit $3.25 by Christmas,” said Gary Drenik, BIGresearch's president and chief executive offer. Consumer concerns over the economy and gas prices are prompting them to take several measures to compensate; 41 percent said they are taking fewer shopping trips and shopping closer to home. About one-third of respondents said they are worse off than a year ago and half said there is “too much month at the end of their paycheck.” Respondents also say they intend to stick to a budget (37.1 percent), do more comparative shopping (26.7 percent) and use more coupons (27.8 percent).

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