Shoppers say they’re cutting back, but holiday retail shows strong growth

Dec 14, 2021, 7:14 PM | Updated: 9:14 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – For months, Americans have said they plan to spend less this holiday season, but spending habits do not seem to be slowing. Consumer debt is, once again, on the rise, and that has experts warning people to stick to their holiday budgets – something easier said than done.

What people say they are going to do is not always what they do. For example, when you survey people about their consumer confidence, the report is bleak.

“People are feeling really as they have in a decade,” said Ted Rossman of CreditCards.com.

In surveys, people have said they are cutting back on spending, but sales reports show a different story.

“Retail sales have been really, really strong,” Rossman said. “And it seems like month after a month, we’re seeing double digit gains over last year.”

So, what will this holiday season bring? The answer depends on who you ask.

A CreditCards.com survey found 21% of people saying they’re cutting back, after all – it is just the financially responsible thing for them to do. Meanwhile, retailers are expecting a boom this season.

“I think sometimes we trick ourselves with money,” Rossman theorized.

As to people sticking to their budgets, we will know for sure in a couple of weeks. But Rossman urges the KSL audience to keep in mind that being haunted by the debts of Christmas past is a huge source of stress for many people.

“I know it’s kind of corny to say, but these sayings exist for a reason – it’s the thought that counts and it’s your presence at the gathering rather than the presents that you happen to bring with you,” he said.

A survey from personal finance website WalletHub found nearly one-in-five people are still trying to pay off what they spent during the holidays last year.

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Shoppers say they’re cutting back, but holiday retail shows strong growth