BASKING RIDGE, N.J. (11/18/09)--Consumers plan to spend less this holiday season, and most consumers will pay for gifts with cash, according to a holiday spending survey conducted by New Jersey’s largest credit union. The $1.984 billion asset, Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Affinity FCU recently surveyed its members in response to a report released by Deloitte Services L.P. that forecast a drop in sales this coming holiday shopping season (PR Newswire Nov. 16). “The economy has created a great impact on consumers’ decisions concerning gift purchases,” Donna LoStocco, spokeswoman for Affinity FCU, told the news service. “More and more are paying in cash or debit cards in order to better monitor spending.” The survey indicated that 82% of respondents plan to spend less and save more, and that more than 59% of respondents plan to purchase gifts with cash or a majority of cash this season. Consumers won’t be spending as much in department stores or at the mall, the survey said. More than 60% of respondents said they plan to purchase gifts online or at discount stores this year, compared to only 20% who plan to go to the mall. “Consumers are beginning to shop earlier as well,” LoStocco said. “Black Friday is no longer the big day to wait for to stock up on gifts. With leading retailers like Kmart offering holiday layaway services as early as Nov. 1, consumers are also buying earlier to stretch their dollars." The survey results back up this theory, indicating more than 50% of consumers have already started their holiday shopping.