×

Another troubling sign for the holidays

In yet another worrisome sign that holiday spending trends will fall short of last year's growth, a new study by Bankrate has found that more than 3 in 5 Americans are limiting their overall spending each month.

According to the research, released Tuesday, 62 percent of Americans said they are holding back on what they spend each month, with 28 percent listing stagnant income growth as the main reason.

That was followed by 25 percent who said they need to save more, 18 percent who said they're worried about the economy and 10 percent who said they have too much debt.

Holiday shoppers at the Time Warner Center in New York.
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Holiday shoppers at the Time Warner Center in New York.

Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 were the most likely to say they're cutting back, at 73 percent. Respondents ages 65 and older were the least likely, at 48 percent.

"Stagnant income has kept a lid on spending, but also held back progress on saving — even though consumers increasingly recognize how important it is," said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst of Bankrate.com.

Bankrate said its findings indicate that retailers will likely need to continue offering steep discounts to get consumers to spend. Last week, the National Retail Federation listed deflation as one reason why it expects holiday sales to increase 3.7 percent this year, compared to 4.1 percent in 2014.

Also Tuesday, the International Council of Shopping Centers predicted holiday sales would increase 3.3 percent in November and December, compared to growth of 3.6 percent at shopping centers during the final two months of 2014. That was the best performance for a holiday season since 2011, ICSC said at the time.

The trade association listed uncertainty in global financial markets and minimal wage growth as two headwinds this year. But spokesman Jesse Tron said that a 3.3 percent increase would top the 10-year average by 1.5 percentage points.

"The positive macroeconomic trends are likely to win out and propel retail sales throughout the season," Tron said.

ICSC's forecast was based on survey results from 2,001 adults between Sept. 29 and Oct. 1. Bankrate's study polled 1,000 adults from Oct. 1 to 4.