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Survey: Americans Cutting Back On Gifts

Shoppers are scrimping on holiday gifts, but not when it comes to their pets.

Among those who plan to spend less on gifts this year, only 23 percent are doing so on their pets, according to a survey released Thursday by Consumer Reports. The vast majority (84 percent) said they plan to cut back spending on themselves.

Another 40 percent said they're scaling back on buying for friends and friends' families, while 30 percent plan to spend less on service providers such as delivery people, hair dressers and gym instructors and 29 percent aren't giving as much to co-workers.

In all, 59 percent of shoppers said they plan to cut back on gift giving.

One likely reason pets won't be as affected by cutbacks is that their gifts aren't as pricey.

"Most average folks aren't spending an arm and a leg on their pet," said Tod Marks, senior projects editor at Consumer Reports.

When people treat themselves, on the other hand, it's usually something like a plasma TV or other big ticket item for the family, he said.

In addition to scaling back on gifts, the Consumer Reports study found 59 percent of shoppers plan to create a budget for the holiday season — up 17 percent from last year.

"Whether they'll stick to it, nobody knows," Marks said.

In fact, less than half of people who said they created a budget last year said they stuck to it.

Overall, the report found about three-quarters of people plan to cut back on holiday spending, including travel, gifts and decorations. Still, 88 percent expect their holidays to be at least as happy as last year.

The survey was based on telephone interviews with 1,001 adults between Oct. 16-19. Participants were selected using random digitized dialing.


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