Consumers may cut back on spending on the traditional “big ticket” items this spring but fewer expect to cut into their Apparel and Footwear purchases.

A report based on a survey conducted by The NPD Group, Inc. suggests that 76% of consumers are “being careful” about spending on discretionary products and services and 29% are “being very careful” about spending plans this March, April and May. Only 14% are planning to spend more than usual, while 45% plan to spend about the same as usual.

NPD reported that 37% to 49% of these same consumers see cutting back on major appliances, consumer electronics and computers/software. Even toys and other moderately priced items like video games and small appliances saw 35% to 43% of respondents indicating that they would spend “much less”.

The good news was that only 22% of those surveyed said they intended to spend “much less than usual” on clothing & apparel and 28% saw reduced purchases in shoes and athletic footwear. There was no indication of trends in sporting goods equipment products.

Intent to purchase American-made products is not as high as one might think. On average just 17% of consumers plan to buy significantly more American-made products in the near future. Just 9% of those aged 18-34 are planning to buy more American-made products in the next three months. A greater number of those age 35 or older (18% -19%) claim they plan to buy more American-made products.

The survey indicated that fear of job loss was far more important a factor than stock market woes or the geopolitical issues of the day.

>>> As the U.S. economy shifts increasingly to the service sector, fewer people see the correlation between personal job loss and the export of American jobs overseas. While a few may “wave the flag” about the loss of the manufacturing base, the consumer will ultimately make a choice based on value, quality and cool…