American Express: Consumers To Spend Less This Holiday Season

More Americans are setting holiday shopping budgets this year— 72% vs. 65% in 2013— according to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. Consumers are also expected to spend less this holiday season with the average consumer holiday spend back to 2012 levels— $848 vs. $1,260 last year, according to the report.

 “Many Americans are planning ahead before the holiday shopping season, setting a budget and using their personal technology to make sure they’re getting the best deals,” said David Rabkin, senior vice president of consumer products.

Mobile— smart phones and tablets— will play a big role in decision-making and actual purchases this year, with consumers saying they will use their gadgets to:

-Make purchases (+ 46% since 2013)

-Access deals through a mobile app (+ 46% since 2013)

-Visit different websites to compare prices (+23% since 2013)

-Browse for gift ideas (+8% since 2013)

“This will enhance an already competitive retail environment, as empowered shoppers use more efficient ways to get the most out of their holiday budgets,” Rabkin said. Using mobile devices to shop for the holidays has grown by 53% since 2012.

Black Friday is expected to regain an edge this year over Cyber Monday as the more popular day to hit the stores. However, retailers may see a slower-than-normal Thanksgiving week, as less than half of Americans plan to shop Black Friday (48% vs. 52% in 2013), and even fewer say they’ll shop Cyber Monday (46% vs. 55% in 2013), dropping for the first time since 2010. Small Business Saturday falls on November 29 this year, between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Americans are expected to spread their shopping over the holiday season again this year, with more than a quarter of shoppers reporting they started holiday shopping before October (on par with 2013). And 60% of shoppers surveyed said they will continue shopping in the final holiday stretch from December 15 – December 24 (vs. 58% in 2013), including 7% who expect to shop on Christmas Eve (vs. 4% in 2013).