STAFF REPORTER AVERAGE spending at this summer's sales in the Balearics is forecast to be 90 euros instead of 100 as it was last year. The downturn is in line with the Spanish average which is set to fall from 95 to 90 euros, the lowest level of the decade.

The Independent Consumers' Federation (FUCI) interviewed 3'000 people across the country during May this year on shopping trends during the summer sales. According to the study, most people are going to tighten their belts and as many as a third of those interviewed said they were only going to buy what they considered necessary.

The best way to save for 31 percent of those taking part in the survey is to look for the biggest bargains, while 23 percent they could afford more if they stayed away from brand names.

In spite of the crisis only 32 percent of the population are prudent by making a list of what they need and what their economic circumstances allow them to spend.

One in two Spaniards will be buying something in the sales, although women will be more active (53 percent of the female population) compared to men (only 39 percent.) Six of every ten people interviewed admitted that they would delay buying things they wanted until the sales so that they could take advantage of offers. The same group claimed however, they would only buy what was necessary. Three quarters of those taking part in the survey believed this strategy would reduce their spending in the long term.

Of those people who said they are not going to spend in the sales, 82 percent said they had taken the decision as a direct result of the economic crisis; only one in ten said they won't buy anything because they don't need anything; and six percent said they had bought what they wanted during the pre-sales season.

Sixty percent of women said that they would take advantage of the Sales to buy clothes and accessories, a figure which falls to 37 percent in the case of men who were more interested (one in four) in buying the latest technology.

Three out of 10 Spaniards intend to buy in the sales at hypermarkets and department stores rather than in local shops.