USAA Study Reveals Holiday Shoppers More Positive, Plan to Buy More

Survey shows many using mobile tools this season

SAN ANTONIO--()--Holiday shoppers appear to have more jingle in their step this year according to a recent survey commissioned by USAA. The fourth annual USAA holiday spending survey indicates that consumers plan to buy more gifts as their sentiment toward holiday budgeting has become more positive in 2012 when compared to 2011 (53 percent vs. 45 percent).

“This year’s survey data aligns with recent reports that holiday sales growth is expected to remain above the 10-year growth rate,” says JJ Montanaro, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with USAA. “Even with the current mixed economic picture, shoppers seem to have more optimism this holiday season, which may be encouraging them to open their wallets.”

Spend More, Budget Less

For the third year in a row, fewer holiday shoppers plan on cutting their holiday spending and creating a budget. In 2010, 40 percent of shoppers reported plans to scale back, compared to 31 percent in 2011 and 24 percent in 2012. And 61 percent planned on budgeting for their holiday purchases in 2010, compared to 57 percent in 2011 and 55 percent in 2012.

“In addition to the decrease in the number of shoppers cutting spending and budgeting, nearly half plan to use their credit cards to make holiday purchases,” said Montanaro. “With only one-third planning on paying their holiday credit card balances in full immediately, it appears shoppers will be less cautious with their holiday spending. However, using a goals-based planning calculator that can be accessed no matter where they are can help shoppers set realistic boundaries and stay on track throughout the holiday season.”

Mobile Shopping

This year’s survey findings underscore the growing trend of mobile shopping with 56 percent of respondents planning to use their mobile devices as a tool for comparison shopping, downloading coupons, searching for availability in stores and making purchases. According to a recent survey, consumers spent more than $20.7 billion shopping using mobile devices in 2012 and tend to spend an average of $10 more per purchase using their tablet.

“While mobile shopping can help uncover deals, it’s also so convenient that some people may be tempted to overspend,” said Montanaro. “Shoppers need to ensure they include all types of purchases – whether mobile or in-store – in their holiday budget.”

USAA, a financial services provider with fully integrated solutions that focuses on serving military members and their families, commissioned the survey to determine how consumers plan to approach their holiday spending and budgeting activities this year compared to the previous years’ surveys on this topic.

About USAA

USAA provides insurance, banking, investment and retirement products and services to 9.3 million members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving or have honorably served our nation in the U.S. military – and their eligible family members. For more information about USAA, or to learn more about membership, visit

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., owns the certification marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM in the U.S. which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

Survey Methodology

The 2009-2012 Holiday Surveys were commissioned by USAA to provide information on consumer spending and budgeting habits for the 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 holiday seasons. ORC International conducted telephone interviews using a dual frame sampling design involving a combined sample of landline and cell households. 660 interviews were from the landline sample and 351 interviews from the cell phone sample. Interviews were conducted during the period of September 20-23, 2012, with 1,011 adults in a random sample of households (one interview per household). ORC weighted the survey results by four demographic characteristics – age, sex, geographic region and race – to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population 18 years of age or older. The raw data are weighted by a custom-designed program which automatically develops a weighting factor for each respondent. This report is based on a weighted total sample of 1,000 respondents. The sampling error associated with a sample size of 1,000 is no more than plus/minus 3.1 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

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Pete Casiano, 210-237-8323
USAA on Twitter:@USAA

Release Summary

Holiday shoppers appear to have more jingle in their step this year according to a recent survey commissioned by USAA.


Pete Casiano, 210-237-8323
USAA on Twitter:@USAA