Americans are not planning major cuts in holiday spending this year, starting with Black Friday, despite inflation fears and the risk of recession being top concerns among the majority of consumers, according to an annual survey conducted by CNBC and SurveyMonkey ahead of the first big shopping weekend of peak season.
Two-thirds of Americans (67%) are worried about inflation making it more difficult for them to buy the items they want. Even more (69%) worry a recession will limit their ability to make purchases. But anticipated cutbacks in spending among consumers are only up slightly compared to last year — 39% versus 36% — with the majority of Americans saying they expect to spend the same (44%) or more (14%) this year, according to the annual CNBC|SurveyMonkey Small usiness Saturday poll.
“People are pretty consistent on how much they expect to spend on holiday shopping,” said Laura Wronski, senior manager of research science at Momentive. “Things are going to cost more and you have to accept that there is not some secret way to get around that high inflation,” she said. But she cautioned that there’s still the risk that consumer behavior changes once shoppers evaluate prices. “The intent may be different than the outcome. They will see some sticker shock out there and find their budget won’t go as far as previous years,” Wronski said.
The survey results reveal the consumer divide in the economy, with spending concerns more prevalent at lower income levels.
Seventy-eight percent of households earning less than $50,000 are concerned about their spending power amid inflation this holiday season, a figure which drops to 56% for household incomes of $100,000 or more.
Economic concerns are relatively high among younger Americans as well, with 73% of those 18-34 worried about being able to buy what they want due to inflation, the highest among any age group in the survey.
The data on inflation matches concerns in last year’s survey regarding a supply chain which at that time was broken.
“Inflation is playing that role of the supply chain saga this year,” Wronski said.
The SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted November 9-13, 2022 among a national sample of 3,549 adults.