Bonnie Petrie

Woe, Woe, Woe: Shoppers Fretting About Finances this Holiday Season

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Tim Boyle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Consumers feel worse about their finances than last year, with 41 percent saying they plan to spend less during the holidays, according to a new survey.

Retailers are hoping for a busy Black Friday to kick off the holiday shopping season, which traditionally contributes 20 percent to annual retail sales.

Overall, only 8 percent of shoppers plan to spend more than they did last year, according to the 12th annual survey released Monday by the Consumer Federation of America and the Credit Union National Association.

Of the 1,011 survey respondents across the country, 37 percent said their financial condition is worse now than a year ago, compared with 30 percent who felt similarly last year.

The survey responses showed an improvement from the downbeat results of 2008 in which 55 percent said they intended to spend less.

But from 2000 to 2007, the percentage who said they planned to spend less never exceeded 35 percent.  The federation notes that because consumers always spend more than they intend, the year-to-year comparisons, not the absolute levels, are what’s meaningful for predicting spending.

The survey also showed a direct link between financial condition and spending.  Of those who said they planned to spend more, 33 percent said their financial condition had improved since last year, while only 19 percent said it had declined.  Of those who said they plan to spend less, only 15 percent indicated their financial condition had improved while 55 percent said it had worsened.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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