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BizReport : : October 25, 2012

Seasonal shoppers' layaway interest fueled by economy

A new survey, conducted by Harris Interactive for, reveals the economy is fueling consumers' interest in layaways this holiday season.

by Helen Leggatt

In the survey of 2,339 shoppers, over a third (34%) said they were at least somewhat likely to purchase items using layaways this holiday season. Nine percent said they were very likely to do so and 29% said maybe.

Big retailers have picked up on the layaway trend and many, including Walmart and Kmart, have programs in place.

"Layaway can be a smart option for holiday shoppers on a budget, as it forces shoppers to be disciplined about saving and reduces impulse purchases," said Jackie Warrick, president and CEO at

Furthermore, it avoids the use of credit cards and incurring interest - a habit many consumers are more wary of since being bitten by recessions - and is an option for those with bad credit ratings.

When asked what they perceive to be the benefits of layaway programs, the U.S. consumers said:

- 54% said it allows them to spread the cost of larger purchases;
- 52% said it helps with budgeting;
- 46% said negates the need to use a credit card;
- 43% said it helps with planning;
- 43% like to be able to reserve an item, particularly if it's a popular product; and
- 33% like that there is no requirement for a good credit rating to use a layaway program.

However, layaway programs do often charge a fee. Walmart retain the $5 service charge if a layaway is canceled. Kmart charges a contract fee and also a $10 fee for a cancellation.

Tags: consumer spending, ecommerce trends, holiday season, retail trends, U.S.

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