Holiday cheer or jeer – depends on what you read


A study on holiday spending plans from Deloitte suggests that consumers will spend less on gifts but slightly more overall, while a concurrent study from Consumer Reports suggests they will cut back, period.

Deloitte starts out by noting that 54% of consumers are optimistic about economic improvement in 2010, compared to only 28% at this time last year (hell, at this time last year some were wondering if there’d ever BE an economy). That optimism is translating into at least a small increase in spending to enjoy the holidays.

Deloitte says gift-giving will decrease – consumers are budgeting $452 compared to $532 in 2008 and $569 in 2007. But they are planning on spending significantly more on home and out-of-home entertainment, on clothes for themselves and on things for their home, bringing total aveage spending to $1,145, a 16% gain over last year.

Meanwhile, Consumer Reports sees a much gloomier picture. It says 65% of consumers are cutting back, and it means on everything, from gifts to entertaining to travel.

Clothing, electronics, gift cards, jewelry, monetary gifts – all will be down, says CR.

RBR-TVBR observation: We’ve been paying close attention to holiday prognostications for over a month, and this particular year seems to be giving the numbers jockeys fits – predictions have been all over the map. We likely won’t know how good this holiday season will be until it is over.