Unhappy Holidays: 4 Ways 2011 Will Be Worse


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — We hate to be the ones to point this out, but all the news surrounding the holidays this year has been a lot more “bah humbug” than “deck the halls.” With heavy heart, MainStreet breaks down a few reasons why we might be in for an unhappy holiday season in 2011. 

Holiday spending per person is expected to be down.

A recent survey from the National Retail Federation found that holiday shoppers plan to shell out an average of $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise this year, down slightly from last year’s $718.98 – and down significantly from the $755.13 consumers shelled out on holiday spending before the recession. Interestingly, consumers said they plan to spend a larger percentage of those holiday dollars on themselves, as the struggling economy makes them more inclined to capitalize on the discounts retailers offer during the season for their own needs.

Americans are taking on second jobs to pay for gifts.

The NRF’s holiday spending estimates were released at the same time as another survey from deals site CouponCabin.com, which found that nearly half of Americans are having a hard time paying for gifts this year. Because of financial constraints, one in five consumers said they plan to get a second job to afford the holidays this year, while 12% said they already had one.

CouponCabin’s survey reflects responses from 2,466 U.S. adults, who said they also plan to use layaway (10%), borrow money (3%) and rely on credit cards (36%) this holiday season to cover their expenses.

Holiday travel will be more expensive.

Of course, one of the things consumers may need extra money for is holiday travel. According to FareCompare, all major airlines recently increased ticket prices by $4, $6 and $10 across the bulk of their domestic route systems, just in time for the holiday booking season.

The increase comes at a time when airfare prices were already higher than they had been previously. Earlier this month, FareCompare  reported that tickets cost 13% to 19% more this year than they did in 2010, a trend the website, which monitors ticket prices, correctly predicted would continue.

Holiday hiring has been tepid.

Many companies are being conservative with holiday hiring estimates, announcing either small increases or flat numbers in regards to 2011 seasonal jobs. Best Buy (Stock Quote: BBY) actually says it will only hire 15,000 workers this holiday season – an almost 50% drop from the 29,000 seasonal employees it took on at this time last year.

Where can you get a job during the holiday season? Find out in MainStreet’s roundup of retailers looking for seasonal workers this year!

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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