Survey: High gas prices to put damper on consumer spending

Orlando, Fla. Nearly three out of five American consumers (57.7%) say they will be forced to cut back on discretionary spending as soon as gas prices reach $3 a gallon, according to research conducted by the BeemerReport.com.

“The double whammy of a volatile stock market over the past two weeks and the prospect of $3-per-gallon gas prices is enough to push consumers over the edge to cut back on spending, just at a time when many were looking to be more positive,” says consumer trend expert C. Britt Beemer.

The areas experiencing the biggest cutbacks will be retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and the travel industry. Almost 20% of Americans (19.3%) say they will shop less, 19.2% will eat out less often, 10.2% will go to fewer movies, and 7.1% will cut back on vacation plans.

“This parallels consumer behavior in previous years when gas reached $3 per gallon,” Beemer says. “The retail sector tends to suffer most in these conditions, because the consumer has few other options to reduce spending.”

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