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Harris Survey Sees Hope In Consumer SpendingJanuary 13, 2010 By: George Dooley
After the holidays, consumer spending may slow as people pay off holiday bills, but in looking ahead for the next six months, it appears that spending on most things is likely to increase – but not by a lot, a new Harris Poll reports. “It seems that Americans are finally seeing some of the economic signs the economists are talking about and are feeling more optimistic, making them a little more willing to open their wallets.” Over one-third of adults (35 percent) say they will take a vacation away from home lasting longer than a week. This is up from 28 percent from September.
Three in five Americans (62 percent) say they are still likely to decrease spending on eating out in restaurants over the next six months, which is down from the 67 percent who said so in September. Just under three in five (58 percent) say they will reduce spending on entertainment, also down from 67 percent who said this in September. Both of these are now at the lowest levels since November of 2008, Harris says.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,276 adults surveyed online between December 4 and 17, 2009 by Harris Interactive.
“There has also been a slight movement up in how Americans will spend money in the next six months. Over one-third of adults (35 percent) say they will take a vacation away from home lasting longer than a week. This is up from 28 percent who said they would be vacation bound in September. One-quarter of adults (23 percent) say they will buy a new computer in the next six months compared to one in five (19 percent) who said so a few months ago.”
“Some other items show smaller upwards movements, such as the 17 percent who say they are likely to move to a different residence (up from 14 percent) and 12 percent who are likely to buy or lease a newly manufactured car, truck or van in the next six months (up from 12 percent). And still other items show no movement from September: 8 percent are likely to purchase a house or condo, 7 percent are likely to start a new business, and 4 percent are likely to buy a boat or recreational vehicle.
“When it comes to having more money to spend the way they want, 27 percent of Americans say they are likely to have that in the next six months compared to 25 percent in September. Besides spending money, there is also having more money to save. Over half of U.S. adults (53 percent) say they will have more money to save or invest while half (50 percent) said the same in September.
Harris warns however that while these numbers are somewhat encouraging, “it is important to note that they represent only a small movement over the numbers from September. The true test will be whether these continue to move in this direction or not. The push that the White House is making on jobs and the economy over the next few weeks may help ease concerns, but whether it will continue to drive people to open their wallets is something we will have to wait and see.”