Survey: Consumers think economy is in dire straits; could affect holiday spending

New York -- Survey results unveiled Thursday by online coupon site and Ipsos Public Affairs found that an overwhelming number of consumers think the economy is in dire straits. As well, this pessimistic group is shoppers to adjust their holiday consumption behaviors and shop earlier this year.

Specific findings of the report include:

  • More than 70% of consumers (71%) think the economy is in "bad" or "terrible" shape;

  • A quarter (25%) believe that the economy is in "okay" shape, and fewer than 1 in 20 think that it is in "good" (3%) or "fantastic" (1%) shape;

  • Those 55 years old and over have a particularly negative view of the economy, with nearly eight in 10 respondents (78%) saying that it is in "bad" or "terrible" shape - including 37% who think it is in terrible shape -- compared with 61% of those under 35;

  • Nearly one in four (24%) feel it will be difficult to purchase things they need over the next several months;

  • Four in 10 respondents (40%) say that they should be able to get most of what they need in the coming months, but not be able to afford it all; an

  • Only about a third of respondents (36%) are not worried about being able to buy all the things they need in the coming months.

The survey also showed that, as is usually case, a large number of shoppers – (39%) start their holiday shopping before November. Women (46%) are more likely than men (31%) to start their shopping earlier than November. Nearly 25% of respondents said they start shopping in early November, 12% wait to start shopping until Black Friday/Cyber Monday and only 15% wait until after Cyber Monday to begin shopping.

Fifty-four percent of respondents finish their holiday shopping sometime between Black Friday and when they actually give away the gift during the holidays.

Nearly a third of respondents (31%) intend to do their holiday shopping online in 2012 versus a majority who intend to shop in-store (59%).