Survey: Consumers spending more for holiday, but still cautious

NEW YORK - Deloitte reported that six out of 10 (62%) of its holiday survey respondents plan to spend more or the same on the holidays, a 11 percentage point rise from Deloitte's 2009 holiday survey and the highest level since 2006.

Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed expect the economy to improve next year, down from more than half (54%) who anticipated an improvement at this time last year. 

Feelings about the economy have lead consumers to be more cautious about spending, Deloitte reported. Nearly three-quarters (73%) plan to change the way they shop this holiday season in an effort to save money. Almost half (46%) of those surveyed intend to purchase more gifts with cash than they have in the past, and 36% say they have permanently cut back the amount of money they spend. 

Consumers' total anticipated holiday spend this year rose slightly to $1,160 from $1,145 in 2009 on gift and non-gift categories that include socializing away from home, entertaining, non-gift clothing, and home/holiday furnishings, Deloitte reported.

Once again, gift cards will be a popular gift item, however the total number of cards that consumers plan to buy slipped to five, from 5.4 in 2009.

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