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Few Spending Habit Differences Year Over Year

Majorities still reducing spending on eating out and entertainment

NEW YORK, Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Every day Americans have to make small decisions about spending as well as saving money. Are they going to get that latte in the morning? Go out for dinner tonight? Take that found $20 and put it in their savings or go to the movies? As the economy has sputtered, these decisions have become part of people's everyday thought process - but are there signs that people might be more willing to spend? Three in five Americans (59%) say that within the next six months they are likely to decrease spending on eating out at restaurants, similar to the number who said this in November of last year (61%). Additionally, just over half (55%) say they plan on reducing spending on entertainment in the next 6 months; while this does represent a majority, it is also the lowest this number has been since the question was first asked in November of 2008.

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These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,383 adults surveyed online between November 14 and 19, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

Overall, three in ten (30%) Americans say they are likely to have more money to spend the way they want over the next six months, up from 26% who said this last November. And holding steady is the half of U.S. adults (50%) who say they anticipate saving or investing more money in the next six months. Looking at some larger spending items U.S. adults expect that they will do in the next six months:

  • Three in ten Americans (29%) say they will likely take a vacation away from home lasting longer than a week, same as last November;
  • One-quarter (24%) anticipate buying a new computer; 23% said this in November, 2011;
  • When it comes to moving, 16% anticipate moving to a different residence (14% last November) and 8% anticipate purchasing a house or condo (7% last November);
  • Over one in ten (13%) expect that they will buy or lease a newly manufactured car, truck or van (12% in November, 2011) and 5% anticipate buying a boat or recreational vehicle (up from 3% last November); and,
  • Less than one in ten U.S. adults (8%) plan on starting a new business (6% in November, 2011).

Small ticket spending

There are also smaller changes people can make in their spending. When asked about a list of 12 changes people could make to save money, there are some changes that have taken place over the last year.  Some of the results include:

  • 57% of U.S. adults say they have been purchasing more generic brands over the past six months, which is down from the 61% who said so in December, 2011;
  • Two in five (41%) now say they are brown bagging lunch, which is about the same as the 42% who said so last December;
  • One-third of Americans report switching to refillable water bottles rather than purchasing bottles of water (33%) and one in five stopped purchasing coffee in the morning (20%), up slightly from the 31% and 17%, respectively, who said so in December, 2011;
  • In terms of media consumption, over one-quarter of Americans have cancelled one or more magazine subscriptions (27%, up from 25%), one in five have cancelled or cut back on cable television service (21%, no change from 2011), and 16% have cancelled a newspaper subscription (15% in December 2011);
  • Looking at communications, 16% have cancelled landline service and are only using a cell phone (up from 14% in December, 2011) and 14% of U.S. adults have changed or cancelled their cell phone service (no change from last year);
  • Over a third of Americans are still cutting back on going to the hairdresser, barber or stylist (38%) and about one in five are cutting down on their dry cleaning (18%).  Both numbers are similar than last year (37% and 19% respectively); and,
  • 14% report that they began carpooling or using mass transit, which is similar to last year, though this number is less telling as in suburban or rural areas these may not be viable options.

So What?

Feelings on the economy shift quickly as various events, usually well out of the control of Americans, happen around them. The EuroZone has austerity issues and this impacts the stock markets, which can give someone pause to go to the movies next weekend. One thing that U.S. adults, as well as the rest of the world, are watching is the fiscal cliff. The closer the United States gets to going over that cliff, the more jittery Americans are going to be about spending money. So far this fear has not put much of a damper on early holiday shopping, but that can change as both Christmas and the cliff get closer.

TABLE 1
SPENDING/SAVINGS OVER NEXT SIX MONTHS
"How likely will you be to do the following within the next 6 months?"

Base:  All U.S. adults


LIKELY (NET)

Very

likely

Somewhat

Likely

NOT LIKELY (NET)

Not that likely

Not at all likely

Decrease spending on eating out at restaurants

%

59

24

35

41

22

18

Reduce spending on entertainment

%

55

23

31

45

24

22

Save or invest more money

%

50

17

33

50

23

27

Have more money to spend the way you want

%

30

7

23

70

30

40

Take a vacation away from home lasting longer than a week

%

29

12

17

71

20

51

Buy a new computer

%

24

7

17

76

25

51

Move to a different residence

%

16

5

11

84

14

71

Buy or lease a newly manufactured car, truck or van

%

13

4

9

87

14

73

Purchase a house or condo

%

8

3

6

92

9

83

Start a new business

%

8

3

5

92

11

82

Buy a boat or recreational vehicle (e.g. trailer, motor home)

%

5

1

4

95

6

89

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 2
SPENDING/SAVINGS OVER NEXT SIX MONTHS - TREND
"How likely will you be to do the following within the next 6 months?"
Percent saying "Very/Somewhat Likely"

Base:  All U.S. adults                          


Nov

2008

March

2009

May

2009

Sept.

2009

Dec.

2009

May

2010

Sept.

2010

Jan. 2011

May 2011

Nov.

2011

Nov 2012

Decrease spending on eating out at restaurants

%

65

74

66

67

62

64

66

63

61

61

59

Reduce spending on entertainment

%

64

74

64

67

58

62

62

59

59

58

55

Save or invest more money

%

49

50

53

50

53

52

52

49

51

51

50

Have more money to spend the way you want

%

25

21

26

25

27

27

28

30

28

26

30

Take a vacation away from home lasting longer than a week

%

29

35

36

28

35

36

31

36

34

29

29

Buy a new computer

%

22

22

21

19

23

20

21

22

25

23

24

Move to a different residence

%

18

20

19

14

17

19

17

21

19

14

16

Buy or lease a newly manufactured car, truck or van

%

12

11

12

10

12

12

12

14

14

12

13

Purchase a house or condo

%

10

10

9

8

8

7

10

10

9

7

8

Start a new business

%

9

10

8

7

7

6

10

10

10

6

8

Buy a boat or recreational vehicle (e.g. trailer, motor home)

%

5

5

5

4

4

3

6

7

6

3

5

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 3
SMALL TICKET SPENDING/SAVINGS OVER PAST SIX MONTHS
"Have you done or considered doing any of the following over the past six months in order to save money?"

Base:  All U.S. adults


Have done

Have considered

Have not done or considered

Not applicable

Purchasing more generic brands

%

57

15

23

5

Brown bagging lunch instead of purchasing it

%

41

9

18

31

Going to the hairdresser/barber/stylist less often

%

38

9

33

19

Switched to refillable water bottle instead of purchasing bottles of water

%

33

12

28

27

Cancelled one or more magazine subscriptions

%

27

7

28

37

Cancelled or cut back cable television service

%

21

24

42

13

Stopped purchasing coffee in the morning

%

20

7

22

51

Cut down on dry cleaning

%

18

6

21

54

Cancelled landline phone service and only using cell phone

%

16

21

43

20

Cancelled a newspaper subscription

%

16

9

32

43

Changed or cancelled cell phone service

%

14

18

55

13

Begun carpooling or using mass transit

%

14

8

36

42

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

TABLE 4
SMALL TICKET SPENDING/SAVINGS OVER PAST SIX MONTHS – TREND OF HAVE DONE
"Have you done or considered doing any of the following over the past six months in order to save money?"
Percent saying "Have done"

 Base:  All U.S. adults


2009

2010

2011

2012

June

Oct

Feb

June

Oct

Feb

June

Dec

Nov

Purchasing more generic brands

%

62

64

63

65

62

61

67

61

57

Brown bagging lunch instead of purchasing it

%

47

47

45

48

45

45

46

42

41

Going to the hairdresser/barber/stylist less often

%

36

43

39

38

37

38

43

37

38

Switched to refillable water bottle instead of purchasing bottles of water

%

33

36

34

39

37

35

39

31

33

Cancelled one or more magazine subscriptions

%

29

34

33

31

27

30

31

25

27

Cancelled or cut back cable television service

%

19

21

22

22

22

22

22

21

21

Stopped purchasing coffee in the morning

%

15

20

21

22

22

21

21

17

20

Cut down on dry cleaning

%

20

22

22

24

21

21

24

19

18

Cancelled a newspaper subscription

%

17

21

19

17

17

16

18

15

16

Cancelled landline phone service and only using cell phone

%

11

12

15

15

17

16

16

14

16

Changed or cancelled cell phone service

%

14

15

17

15

17

14

14

14

14

Begun carpooling or using mass transit

%

13

14

14

12

14

13

14

13

14

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between November 14 and 19, 2012 among 2,383 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J42318
Q730, 735

The Harris Poll® #65, December 5, 2012
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients—stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
[email protected]

 

SOURCE Harris Interactive

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