Consumer Report's Poll Finds Recent Political Storms Have Not Dampened Americans' Holiday Spirit

Nov 19, 2013, 06:00 ET from Consumer Reports

Eight in Ten Expect Holiday Season to be as Happy or Happier than Last Year

YONKERS, N.Y. , Nov. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new Consumer Reports poll revealed that recent political crises like last month's 16-day-long partial U.S. government shutdown did little to sour most Americans' mood headed into the holiday shopping season. When asked to take those events into consideration, 8 in 10 said they expect this year's holiday season to be about as happy (70 percent) or happier (13 percent) than last year.

The Consumer Reports poll also revealed that 9 in 10 Americans are looking forward to the holiday season – including 27 percent who are really looking forward to it.  

"Never underestimate the power of the holidays to revitalize our collective spirit," said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert. "Even though many families continue to struggle financially, and there's seemingly a never-ending state of contentiousness in our nation's capital, our poll shows that the vast majority of Americans perceive this time of year as a beacon of cheer and optimism."

Additional results from the Consumer Reports poll can be found at

The Consumer Reports poll also revealed other signs of Americans' optimism heading into the winter holidays. Six in ten shoppers will spend the same amount of money (54 percent) or more money (12 percent) than they did last year. Thirty-three percent will spend less money, similar to the 37 percent who said the same when asked last year.

About half of Americans plan to shop on a budget this year. However, 36 percent admitted to spending more than they budgeted last year. Additionally, 10 percent of shoppers who used a credit card to purchase gifts last holiday season have yet to pay off their debt, similar to the 13 percent who were in that predicament last year. When asked the most important reasons they chose credit cards instead of cash or another method of payment, the top responses included:

  • Credit cards are easier for online purchases (54 percent)
  • I earned bonuses such as reward points or miles for using my credit card (48 percent)
  • Credit cards are more convenient than other methods of payment (48 percent)
  • I earned cash back for using my credit card (40 percent)
  • Credit cards made it easier to track the amount of money I was spending (27 percent)
  • I wanted to pay for my purchases later, or in installments (26 percent)
  • Credit cards are my default method of payment (25 percent)

Holiday shoppers anticipate they will charge a median amount of $650 to their credits cards this holiday season, which is $275 more than last year's median of $375. Just 7 percent of shoppers plan to take advantage of store layaway plans.

Consumer Reports Poll Methodology
The Consumer Reports National Research Center designed a survey to explore general sentiment and shopping behaviors for the upcoming 2013 winter holiday season. In November 2013, GfK Custom Research administered the survey online to a nationally representative sample of over 1,500 randomly selected adult U.S. residents. The data were statistically weighted so that respondents in the survey were demographically and geographically representative of the U.S. population. The margin of error is +/- 3.1% points at the 95% confidence level. Fifty-five percent of the sample was female, and the median age was 45 years old.

Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually.  Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications.  Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.

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SOURCE Consumer Reports