July 20, 2009

Poll: Less consumer spending ‘new normal’

A third of U.S. consumers say their recently depressed spending habits will become a new normal in the years ahead, a Gallup Poll said Monday.

The 32 percent figure -- little changed from April when Gallup first asked the question -- suggests those U.S. consumers have not slowed their spending since spring but have not increased it either, Gallup said.

Neither Gallup survey sought to measure the amount of money respondents typically spend or have spent in the past.

Eight percent said their new normal would be spending more in the years ahead.

Those with lower incomes were slightly more likely than higher-income Americans to say their new normal pattern was spending more, but not by much, Gallup said.

Both surveys also found that about a quarter of respondents said they recently began increasing their savings and that this will become their normal pattern in the years ahead, Gallup said.

Between 10 percent and 13 percent said they were saving less and that this would be their new normal.

The July 10-12 telephone survey with 1,018 U.S. adults has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.