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Cape Town - Almost 60% of South Africans intend to purchase fewer gifts this festive season, while many wish for money as their gift, according to Deloitte's Year-end Holiday Survey.

The survey, which sampled the spending habits of consumers ahead of the 2012 festive season, found that money was the number one most-desired gift. But while 41% of respondents hope to receive cash this year, many are likely to get chocolates followed by books, CDs, cosmetics and vouchers.

The growing popularity of digital gadgets also played a part in the top 10 most wished-for gifts for the first time this year, with 24% of respondents wanting a smartphone or tablet computer.

This year, consumers are expected to curb their spending behaviour with 34% aiming to spend less on holidays and around 25% to cut back on clothing and entertainment, the survey found.

While consumers reported that they have less disposable income than last year, they intended to increase their spending on food. "Food as a share of the overall spending has increased from 27% in 2011 to 30% in 2012," the survey stated.

A whopping 80% of respondents felt they would be able to cut back on future spending on entertainment and leisure activities.

"The South African consumer currently faces a number of challenges including increased living costs, higher energy prices and higher education costs, to name but a few," said Rodger George, consumer business industry leader for Deloitte.

The survey also found that consumers had a dim outlook on the economy as a whole, with just under 50% reporting that the current economic environment was negative; however, they were "significantly less negative" compared to 2008 and 2009.

George said the economy took a downhill turn in the third quarter of 2012 with a series of industrial strikes, while still facing "significant headwinds from the global economy".

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deloitte  |  spending  |  christmas
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