Election Uncertainty Could Slow Winter Seasonal Sales

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Chicago — Nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers believe their financial health is set to deteriorate heading into the new year, leading to some uncertainty surrounding spending for the upcoming holidays, according to a survey from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI).

In addition, about 47 percent of survey respondents say their household finances are already strained, and about two-thirds think they will get worse before they begin to improve.

Of these financially strained shoppers, more than half say they will spend less during 2016 winter holidays compared with the year prior. To reduce costs associated with the season, 41 percent of these consumers will cut back on food and beverage spending, according to IRI. Further, 73 percent will make shopping lists, and 61 percent will clip coupons from circulars and newspapers, 44 percent will turn to emailed coupons and 16 percent will turn to social media to find discounts.

Other tactics to save money include taking advantage of promotions found online and purchasing private label items, IRI reports.

“The uncertainty associated with the presidential election, particularly this unconventional election, is coinciding with the holiday shopping season, adding to concerns about keeping the financial ship afloat during and after the transition in the Oval Office,” says Susan Viamari, vice-president of thought leadership at IRI. “As a result, consumers are really taking a cautious approach to the holidays this year.”