Despite a softening economy the majority of packagers said their firms expected to proceed with established purchasing plans albeit with caution. Asked to best describe their firms packaging purchases for this year 52.9% said they were moving forward with equipment purchasing plans. More than 21% admitted their companies were deferring packaging machinery purchases until their business improved. Another 16.4% said their firms were holding back on equipment buys until the general economy headed upward. Optimism was displayed by 3.5% who planned to step up equipment purchases. Given the economys condition respondents were asked how their companies could reduce overall packaging spending. More than a third planned to substitute more economical materials and nearly 27% said their companies would invest in packaging line automation to reduce long-term labor costs. Another 15.1% said their companies would refrain from buying machinery for the next six to 12 months whereas 11.6% indicated their firms had no plans to reduce packaging spending. Nearly 13% of respondents said their companies would reduce spending by outsourcing some packaging to contract packaging firms. Asked if their companies would be more or less likely to outsource packaging projects in the next six to 12 months more than half (53.5%) reported no change in outsourcing plans. More outsourcing was expected by 24.4% of respondents but deemed less likely by 22.1%.