Everyday consumer spending is taking a beating, with some 56% of 3,359 online shoppers surveyed April 29 to May 23 indicating that they are cutting back because of the weak economy and growing inflation, according to PriceGrabber.com’s Consumer Behavior Report:
- 42% of respondents indicated retail shopping as the primary category in which they are reducing spend.
- More than one-third of respondents indicated that their top money-saving trick for retail shopping is the use of comparison-shopping websites.
- Other ways consumers are reducing their retail spending is through discount and bargain shopping and using low-interest credit cards or cash.
Tax refunds to pay off debt
Some 65% of 1,328 online shoppers surveyed March 25 to April 19 said they plan to spend their tax refund.
Of that group, 45% plan to use that money on an existing loan. Of the respondents applying their refund to a loan, 68% indicated a credit card as that loan:
Even with concern about an unstable economy, 22% of tax refund spenders indicated using the refund for home improvement and 11% for a vacation.
Economic stimulus checks
Despite government efforts to increase consumer spending through the economic stimulus program, a June survey of 2,483 online shoppers found that 89% of respondents are still cutting back.
Similar to the results of the tax-refund survey, more than one-third of consumers who indicated that they spent their economic stimulus checks used them to pay off debt.
31% of online consumers spent their checks on retail shopping. Of those who spent their stimulus checks, 27% bought one large item and 25% spent the money immediately on multiple items.