Consumers Curtailing Post-Holiday Spending: Discover

U.S. consumers are planning to spend less this month following the holidays, and they are slightly more pessimistic about their finances, according to survey data Discover Financial Services released on Jan. 6.

Discover’s U.S. Spending Monitor index fell to 83 during December, a decline of 3.3 points from November. Discover set the index at 100 when it introduced it in May 2007.

In a nationwide survey of 8,200 adults Rasmussen Reports conducted throughout December on behalf of Discover, 57% of participants rated the economy as poor, down from 59% who thought so in November. Some 49.5% of respondents believed their finances were getting worse, compared with 48.9% who said so in November.

Some 47.6% felt economic conditions were worsening, a slight improvement from 49.1% who thought so in November. A record low 42.7% of consumers surveyed said they expect to have money left over after paying monthly bills, compared with 48.2% who said so in November.

Among those with money left over, 25.7% said they would have less than the previous month, compared with 23.5% who said so in November. Not surprisingly, 33.9% of consumers plan to spend less in January following the holidays. Some 50.8% of respondents said they spent less on holiday gifts in 2009 compared with the previous year, while 31.1% said they spent the same amount, 15.5% spent more and 2.6% were not sure.