PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup's initial measure of Americans' 2010 Christmas spending intentions finds consumers planning to spend an average of $715 on gifts, roughly on par with the $740 recorded in October 2009. The $25 decrease in Americans' holiday spending intentions between October 2009 and October 2010 (not a statistically significant change) contrasts with a $61 year-over-year reduction in intended spending found last October and a $108 reduction found a year prior.
The muted nature of this year's decline is reflected in consumers' own evaluations of their spending changes. According to the Oct. 7-10 poll, 27% of Americans intend to spend less on Christmas gifts this year than what they spent last Christmas -- higher than the 11% who now say they will spend more, but down from the 35% and 33% in 2008 and 2009 saying they would spend less. Prior to the recent recession, Americans were much more closely divided over whether their holiday spending would exceed or trail their spending of the prior year, while more said their spending would be "about the same."