The federal government shutdown and the remaining uncertainty surrounding the nation's budget has little to do with how much money Americans plan to spend this holiday season, according to a new Gallup poll.
On average, the article says Americans expect to spend $786 on Christmas gifts this year. This figure is similar to their holiday spending estimates in each of the past two years. Last year, poll respondents said they would spent $770.
Also in the results, nearly nine in 10 U.S. adults said they will spend some amount of money this year on Christmas gifts. Underscoring the importance Americans place on holiday gift giving, 30 percent -- identical to last year -- plan to spend at least $1,000, and half plan to spend at least $500. Only 3 percent intend to spend less than $100.
While not great news for the nation's retailers, the response indicates respectable seasonal sales growth. Even in light of the recent government shutdown and the shakeup it caused in consumer confidence, the numbers suggest a nearly 4 percent increase in year-over-year sales. According to the poll, this falls well short of the 6 percent to 8 percent increases seen in better economic times, and lags behind roughly 5 percent increases seen in 2010 and 2011. It is still better than the 2008 and 2009 holiday seasons, when spending barely grew, or even contracted.
The current figures are based on an Oct. 3-6 Gallup poll, conducted in the first few days of the partial federal government shutdown. That closure, and the partisan stalemate preceding it, caused consumers' attitudes to sour on a number of dimensions, including their confidence in the economy, perceptions of their own standard of living, and their self-reported daily spending.