The stock market crash will have a sharp impact on consumer spending, according to financial analysts, who are also predicting that 1988 will be a year of modest growth.

A slow-down in consumer spending has already begun and is expected to last through next summer. The immediate effect on the cruise industry can be seen in cancellations of holiday cruises and a slow-down in the normal booking pattern for this time of the year.

High-Ticket Mostly Affected

The strongest decline in retail sales so far has affected the high-end of the market with sales of high-priced, imported luxury cars virtually at a stand still. (Cruise industry rumors also indicate that at least one high-priced ship has cancelled several fall cruises.)

While consumers' confidence may be shaken, they are not broke, and analysts expect them to respond to discounting.

Leisure travel is always sensitive to economic ups and downs, analysts say, with the big-ticket items usually being more affected than the less expensive products.

Dramatic Year

Cruise industry observers tend to agree that 1988 will be a dramatic year, with a general slow­-down in consumer demand just as cruise lines are bringing record numbers of new berths to market.

If discounting is the answer, it will cause further revenue dilution, which will also be impacted by cost increases expected for port services, food and beverages, and air/sea programs in 1988.

1988 could be a dramatic year forcing new mergers or acquisitions within the industry.