COLUMBUS, OH--(Marketwire - November 26, 2008) - It appears Santas across the U.S. are tightening their belts this holiday season as over half (56.7%) of Americans say they will be spending less due to the economic environment, according to the American Pulse™ Survey of 4,348 respondents. In addition, 51.2% say they will be looking for sales more than last year while 31.8% are hoping to find deals online. Almost 20% of those with household incomes greater than $50,000 say the economy won't affect their holiday shopping, compared to 12.8% of those with incomes less than $50,000 who say the same.

One in five (22.8%) Americans plan to brave the crowds on Black Friday to take advantage of deep discounts, but it doesn't seem they will be taking up certain retailers' offer to layaway purchases. Almost half (47.4%) say they are not at all likely to participate in a layaway program. Conversely, 9.4% are very likely to do so.

When it comes to retailers and their advertising, 87.9% of Americans feel it is proper for them to use the word "Christmas" in their ads. 65.3% prefer store employees greet them with a "Merry Christmas" while 27.4% think "Happy Holidays" is more appropriate when shopping.

Findings on holiday gifts and gift cards...

--  39.5% would rather receive a gift, 32.7% say a gift card.
--  60.7% say gift cards are a smart gift alternative for people they
    don't know well.
--  36.4% hate to return gifts because it's a hassle.
--  15.8% have "re-gifted" gifts, 13.8% say the same about gift cards.
--  12.3% have received gift cards they've never redeemed and 13.3% have
    received gift cards they've only partially redeemed.

For complimentary findings:

About American Pulse™

The American Pulse™ Survey is collected online by BIGresearch every month exclusively utilizing Survey Sampling International's (SSI) U.S. panel covering topics such as politics, pop culture and the economy. Over 4,000 respondents participate, providing greater insights into how Americans really feel about issues they currently face.

About Survey Sampling International (SSI)

Survey Sampling International is the premier global provider of sampling solutions for survey research. SSI offers access to more than 6 million consumer and business-to-business research respondents in 54 countries via Internet, telephone, and mobile. Additional client services include custom profiling, survey programming and hosting, data processing, sampling consulting, and survey optimization. SSI serves more than 1,800 marketing research clients, including nearly three-quarters of the top researchers worldwide. Founded in 1977, SSI has an international staff of 400 people representing 50 countries and 36 languages. The company is based in Shelton, CT with 14 additional offices worldwide.

Contact Information: Contacts: BIGresearch Chrissy Wissinger 614.846.0146 SSI Diane Urso 203.567.7236