Georgians' Holiday Spending Plans Reflect Current Consumer Mindset
"Paying Attention" Report Data Shows Continued Trend Toward Savings

ATLANTA (Nov. 16, 2010) - While not pulling back to Scrooge-ish extremes, Georgia merchants may again face cautious shoppers this holiday season, according to the latest poll from Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA).

While about half (52.8 percent) of nearly 6,000 credit union members surveyed statewide said they plan to spend about the same as last year, 44.3 percent indicated that they plan to spend less on the holiday season than in 2009. This statistic appears to reflect a continued trend in austerity around gift-giving, given that 51.2 percent of respondents to GCUA's survey in 2009 said they planned to spend less on the holidays than the previous year.

Paying ATTENTION...
to people and their money

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Lin Hodges, President of Associated Credit Union, speaks about consumers and the economic recovery.

Backing up the latest poll numbers, data from 39 credit unions statewide shows Georgia consumers have a penchant for bolstering their account balances. During the first nine months of 2010, savings deposits grew by 6.3 percent and checking account balances increased by 11.4 percent.

The poll results and credit union data are included in the latest "Paying Attention" report from GCUA, gauging the mindset of Georgia consumers on economic and personal finance. The report also recaps quarterly lending and saving statistics from credit unions statewide.

"Shoppers who already trimmed their spending in 2009 will be frugal again this year," said Mike Mercer, president and CEO of GCUA. "The poll results appear to bear that out, with just 2.9 percent of respondents saying they plan to spend more this holiday season."

Overall, the poll found that:

  • 52.8 percent plan to spend about the same this holiday season as last year, while 44.2 percent plan on spending less. Only 2.9 percent plan on spending more this holiday season than last year.
    • In 2009, 51.2 percent said they planned to spend less than the previous year while 45.4 percent planned to spend about the same. 3 percent expected to spend more in 2009 compared to the year before.
  • Most shoppers still plan to spend modest amounts on gifts. 43.9 percent of respondents are planning to spend between $100 and $500 while 28.7 percent are planning to spend between $500 and $1,000. In a true turn toward austerity, 16.4 percent said they plan to spend less than $100 in total on gifts this year; conversely, 11 percent plan to spend more than $1,000.
    • Last year, 47.9 percent said they planned on spending between $100 and $500 in total, 30.8 percent planned on spending between $500 and $1,000 and 11.4 percent said they were going to spend less than $100, and 9.9 percent planned on spending more than $1,000.
  • The majority of respondents (77.8 percent) are planning to pay mostly or completely by cash compared to 17.3 percent who plan to pay using a credit card. 4.9 percent plan to use savings from a Christmas club account or other means.
    • In 2009, 75.6 percent said they planned on paying all or mostly by cash compared to 11.8 percent who planned on paying all or mostly by credit card. 12.7 percent said they would pay with savings from a Christmas club account or other means.

Credit Union Data Shows Continued Trend Toward Savings
In addition to the consumer poll, GCUA compiled data from 39 credit unions from across the state representing 90 percent of credit union assets and 82 percent of members in Georgia to gauge current lending and savings trends. The data compare year-to-date figures from the first nine months of 2010 to the same period in 2009. Summarized below, the findings indicate a continued trend toward savings among consumers, while figures for lending varied (all rates are annualized):

  • Compared to the same period last year, savings deposits grew by 6.3 percent during the first nine months of 2010 and by 7.1 percent over the past year.
  • Checking account balances increased by 11.4 percent between January and September and by 16.5 percent over a 12-month period.
  • Money market account balances grew by 23.8 percent during the first three quarters of the year and by 35.6 percent over the previous 12 months.
  • New vehicle loan balances decreased by 9.7 percent over the past year; however, balances for used car loans increased more than 7.7 percent in the first nine months of 2010, and 10 percent over the past 12 months.
  • First mortgage balances increased by 5.8 percent during between January and September and by 12.5 percent over a 12-month period.
  • The number of bankruptcy filings among members rose by 13.8 percent over the past 12 months.

"Credit union members represent a good cross section of middle-class Georgians," Mercer said. "Our latest report shows that Georgia consumers seem to be settling into a routine of conscious saving and cautious spending."

More information is available at www.georgiacreditunions.org or on facebook.com/creditYOUnion.

About Georgia Credit Union Affiliates
Georgia Credit Union Affiliates (GCUA) provides services and support that help credit unions meet the financial services needs of the state’s more than 1.8 million credit union members. GCUA offers advocacy, educational, operational and marketing support for Georgia’s 162 credit unions, with combined total assets of almost $16 billion. More information can be found at www.georgiacreditunions.org.

Trends at Georgia Credit Unions
Consumer Savings
(Balances)
Consumer Credit
(Balances)
Growth Rates
(Annualized)
Growth Rates
(Annualized)
 
YTD
12 Mos.
   
YTD
12 Mos.
Regular Savings 6.26% 7.10%   Credit Card 0.20% 7.28%
Money Market Acts 23.84% 35.58% Other Unsecured -3.53% 1.51%
Certificates of Deposit -2.37% -5.69% New Vehicle -8.25% -9.74%
IRA/KEOGH Acts 8.56% 7.86% Used Vehicle 7.71% 10.03%

Transaction Accounts
(Balances)
1st Mortgage 5.78% 12.54%
 
Growth Rates
(Annualized)
Other Real Estate -5.28% -1.55%
 
YTD
12 Mos.
Business 17.00% 39.01%
Checking Accounts 11.44% 16.51%        
        Number of Bankruptcy Filings:
        YTD # of Filings   5,135
        % Change Year over Year*   13.81%
YTD: 1/1/10 - 9/30/10
12 Mos.: 9/09 - 9/10
      * First 9 months of 2010 compared to first 9 months of 2009.
Georgia Credit Union Affiliates