Surviving the season of giving without drowning in debt

New survey from Experian Consumer Services reveals consumer confidence is up, but shoppers still should be wary of overspending

Nov 25, 2014, 07:01 ET from Experian Consumer Services

COSTA MESA, Calif., Nov. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a new survey from Experian Consumer Services, consumers anticipate spending more on holiday gifts this season compared with 2013. However, only 38 percent of surveyed consumers plan to set aside a budget for holiday shopping, compared with 54 percent in the past. Lack of budgeting can lead to debt, as many plan to charge their holiday purchases on major credit cards (48 percent) or store credit cards (22 percent), while a small percentage of respondents say they will use layaway plans to purchase gifts (12 percent).

"Oftentimes, people happily overspend in December, only to feel overwhelmed in January when their credit card statements arrive," said Becky Frost, senior manager of consumer education at Experian Consumer Services. "A good credit score may be a key to getting the best rates out of our financial lives, but it can be affected adversely by overzealous holiday spending. Our new survey shows that people are planning to spend more on gifts this year, but few are setting aside a budget for holiday shopping."

Consumer confidence is up

  • Shoppers anticipate spending $757.57 this year on holiday shopping, up from $721.96 last year.
  • Thirty-six percent of people anticipate spending more on holiday shopping this year, compared with 25 percent who anticipate spending less.

Anticipated means of payment

  • Many plan to use cash to pay for holiday gifts (59 percent), but many consumers also anticipate using a credit card, store credit card or layaway (62 percent) this season.
  • Seventeen percent plan to open a store credit card to purchase a holiday gift.

Trends in gifting

  • Forty-five percent of consumers plan to give an "experience" or a do-it-yourself gift this holiday season.
  • More than a third (37 percent) plan to buy themselves a holiday gift.
  • A quarter of those surveyed said they were putting off a major purchase to make it a holiday gift.

Quick budget tips for the holidays

  • Set a realistic budget for holiday shopping and stick to it. Making a list ahead of time with a set budget for each gift will help you avoid overspending.
  • Keep your focus on giving. It can be tempting to pick up unplanned and unbudgeted items for yourself while shopping for others. The holidays are more financially draining than other seasons; stay on track and on budget by prioritizing spending.

For more survey findings, please visit http://www.experian.com/blogs/news/2014/11/21/how-do-your-holiday-shopping-plans-stack-up-experian-survey-findings/.

Survey methodology
The online survey was conducted by Edelman Berland on behalf of Experian from Oct. 29, 2014, through Nov. 3, 2014, among 1,005 adults ages 18 and older residing in the United States. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percent. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact ann@pitchpublicrelations.com.

About Experian Consumer Services
The Experian Consumer Services division provides credit monitoring and other informational products, such as identity protection, to millions of consumers via the Internet. The organization enables consumers to monitor their credit reports online, check their credit scores and protect against identity theft. Its products include Experian Credit TrackerSM and ProtectMyID®.

Experian Consumer Services has established integrated, co-branded relationships with leading online financial destinations that provide consumers with a broad range of comprehensive online financial products and information essential to managing one's financial life. For more information, visit http://www.experian.com.

This press release is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial adviser to discuss any legal issues or financial issues involved with credit decisions.

About Experian
Experian® is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended March 31, 2014, was US$4.8 billion. Experian employs approximately 16,000 people in 39 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.
Experian and the Experian marks used herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Experian Information Solutions, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.

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SOURCE Experian Consumer Services



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