Consumers spending less and waiting longer to shop, says Consumer Reports

Consumers are waiting longer to start shopping this holiday season and spending less A newly released survey from Consumer Reports has found that Americans are holding out for good deals and intend to spend less this holiday season than in years’ past.

According to a spending survey released by the organization last week, 40 percent of Americans stated that they had not yet started their holiday shopping as of December 6.

The survey also found that – for the third straight year – the average amount of money consumers planned to spend during the season decreased. After dropping $23 to $740 in 2008, the average amount spent declined another $41 to $699.

Despite consumers’ increased attempts at debt management, survey respondents said they planned to purchase an average of 15 gifts, the same as in 2008.

"The findings clearly show that Americans are taking a pragmatic approach to the holidays. And that’s a good thing," said Tod Marks, senior editor for Consumer Reports. "Consumers are spending a bit less, focusing on more practical gifts, and vowing to take on less debt and pay it off sooner."

For those who had begun shopping, 41 percent said they had found the best holiday deals at brick-and-mortar retailers such as Walmart and Target. Thirty-nine percent said they had found the best deals via online retailers, while 16 percent favored discount stores such as TJ Maxx and Marshalls.