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A new study from ACNielsen suggests that many shoppers are strapped for cash as the holiday shopping season commences, which could lead to less than robust sales between now and the end of the year.

In fact, of the 28 markets around the world surveyed by ACNielsen, the U.S. had the highest percentage of consumers (28 percent) who say they have no extra money to spend, and 33 percent of those surveyed said that if they did have extra cash, they would be using it to pay off debt.

“When it comes to spending money, you can never count U.S. consumers out; their willingness to take on debt is legendary,” said Tom Markert, ACNielsen’s chief marketing and client service officer. “However, this study adds to a considerable body of research indicating that U.S. consumers are nearing a financial breaking point, pointing to at least a moderate holiday selling season this year.”

In the U.S., women were more likely than men (30% vs. 22%) to say that they have no spare cash, while men were more likely than women (36% vs. 32%) to say that they use such money to pay off debts. As for specific purchases people make with spare cash, U.S. men were much more likely than women to indicate that they spend it on new technology (20% vs. 8%).

There were differences by age as well, with older respondents more likely to say that they have no spare cash and younger respondents more likely to say that they spend extra money on debt repayment. Respondents on both ends of the age spectrum were more likely than those in the middle to build savings with spare cash. Younger people were more likely to spend it on out of home entertainment, clothing, and technology.
KC's View:
We’re thinking of getting copies of this study and putting them in each of the Content Kids’ stockings…

And it gives us an idea for a country-western song: “Cash Poor At Christmas…”