Poll: Shoppers willing to continue holiday splurge

Posted Jan. 12 at 1:20 p.m.

After some disciplined belt-tightening, shoppers who enjoyed a splurge over the holidays seem ready to buy more than just T-shirts and socks in 2011.

MasterCard Worldwide found that 61 percent of shoppers surveyed in mid-December said they don’t plan to cut back on spending in 2011, even after their holiday bills come due.

For nearly two years, households have hunkered down through the economic slump, training themselves to shop only for basics such as groceries and clothing.

Americans now seem to be feeling an urge to splurge.

“What we saw from consumers during the holidays was a lift in spirits,” said Melody Miller, senior vice president of global commerce development with MasterCard Worldwide.  “People were buying not just practical things, but were also injecting some fun into their shopping.”

Most surprisingly, many consumers showed that they are were comfortable making pricier purchases. Evidence of this emerged this month when high-end stores such as Nordstrom and Saks posted a surge in their store sales for December, possibly even stealing sales away from other retailers.

The MasterCard survey showed that 59 percent of consumers with incomes between $35,000 and $50,000 don’t plan to cut back spending in the New Year while 57 percent of those making $50,000 to $75,000 said the same.

Among  those making $100,000 to $150,000, the number who said they’re ready to make a few fickle purchases this year jumped to 73 percent.

Despite this, consumers are still budget conscious. More than half of those polled said they will scout for more sales  this year.

The MasterCard-Harris Interactive survey polled 1,019 shoppers aged 18 or older.

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