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Deloitte survey finds consumer confidence up


NEW YORK Consumers appear to be more optimistic about the economy, according to Deloitte's 24th annual holiday survey of retail spending and trends.

More than half of those surveyed (54%) said they expect the economy will improve in 2010, compared with 28% responding favorably last year. The optimism is also starting to show in Americans' shopping plans. More than half of consumers (51%) said they hope to spend more or the same on the holidays, an improvement from last year's 41% response.


Though consumers may have more confidence in the economy, the Deloitte study found that many still plan to reduce their spending on gifts. The average number of gifts people plan to purchase declined to 18.2 from 21.5 last year and 23.1 in 2007. The amount consumers plan to spend on gifts is down as well, to $452 compared with $532 in 2008, and $569 in 2007.


Consumers, however, do appear willing to increase their spending on the non-gift items that traditionally account for a smaller portion of the holiday budget. These categories include socializing away from home, entertaining, non-gift clothing and home/holiday furnishings. These increases lift consumers' total anticipated holiday spend to $1,145, which is a 16% increase over last year.


"Consumers appear to be revisiting shopping categories that they had put on the back burner for a while, and they may be returning because of the need to replenish," said Stacy Janiak, vice chairman and Deloitte's U.S. Retail leader. "Over the past several months, we have seen key economic indicators ease from their worst levels, helping to put more resources back into Americans' pockets. As a result, a cautious upturn in sentiment may draw consumers out of their bunkers, turn their focus away from saving and debt reduction, and encourage them to do some holiday shopping for their homes, family and friends."

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