Americans Plan to Scale Back on Holiday Spending This Year


Story Highlights

  • Consumers plan to spend $805 on items this 12 months, down sharply from 2019
  • More than twice as many say they’re spending much less, versus extra, than final 12 months
  • Consumer spending intentions typically change over vacation season

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans predict they’ll spend a mean $805 on Christmas items this 12 months, considerably beneath their estimate a 12 months in the past ($942) and the bottom October vacation spending projection Gallup has measured since 2016. The sharp decline in Americans’ spending intentions since 2019 factors to weak vacation gross sales for retailers.

Line graph. Trend from 2002 by means of 2020 within the common quantity Americans count on to spend on Christmas items, starting from a low of $695 in 2002 to a excessive of $942 in 2019. The 2020 determine is $805, the bottom since 2016.

The Sept. 30-Oct. 15 ballot additionally finds 28% of Americans saying they are going to be spending much less on vacation items this 12 months than in 2019, greater than double the 12% who count on to spend extra. While the bulk say their spending will keep the identical, the 28% planning to spend much less is the best October studying since 2012.

A robust tilt towards much less spending, as is seen now, is typical of shopper intentions throughout recessions and sluggish financial occasions, however contrasts with the previous three October polls, when Americans had been about equally as doubtless to say they’d spend extra as spend much less.

Line graph. Trend from 2000 by means of 2020 in whether or not the sum of money that Americans count on to spend on Christmas items is extra, much less or about the identical as final 12 months. Currently, 59% say they’ll spend the identical quantity, 28% much less and 12% extra. The share saying they’ll spend much less is the best it has been in October since 2012.

Implications

Gallup’s annual query asking Americans to predict what their vacation spending can be has been a dependable harbinger of annual retail gross sales in most years. This is especially true for Gallup’s forthcoming November estimate, as that higher captures customers’ mindset through the peak of the season.

Holiday gross sales sometimes improve year-over-year, rising three.three% on common since 2000, with gross sales up greater than 5% in robust years and round 2% in weak years, in accordance to figures compiled by the National Retail Federation. Since 2000, vacation gross sales have been worse than that solely twice: in 2008, through the world monetary disaster and December 2007-June 2009 recession, and in 2009, when the economic system was nonetheless recovering from these occasions.

Should Americans’ predictions for his or her vacation spending maintain up over the subsequent month, retailers might even see good points of simply over 2% in gross sales, on common, this 12 months. However, as Gallup has famous prior to now, customers’ mindset is fragile and might change shortly within the occasion of financial or political shocks.

With the variety of new COVID-19 instances rising, the destiny of a second spherical of stimulus checks hanging within the stability in Congress, and the presidential election across the nook, the probabilities are excessive for a shift in customers’ spending intentions on discretionary gadgets like vacation items.

Gallup tendencies present Americans’ spending intentions have declined between October and November in 10 out of 13 years when the query was requested in each months. If that happens this 12 months, retailers ought to brace for even weaker gross sales. But it is also attainable that their spending estimate may improve considerably as occurred as soon as, in 2011, thus portending a greater scenario for retailers. The greatest they may moderately hope for is stability.

Americans’ Estimate of Their Spending on Christmas Gifts Each Year

Mean greenback quantity, together with zero



























October November Change
$ $ $
2020 805
2019 942 846 -96
2018 885 794 -91
2017 906 862 -44
2016 785 752 -33
2015 812 830 +18
2014 781 720 -61
2013 786 704 -82
2012 770
2011 712 764 +52
2010 715 714 -1
2009 740 638 -102
2008 801 616 -185
2007 909 866 -43
2006 907 826 -81
2005 763
2004 730
2003 734
2002 695 690 -5
2001 794
2000 817
Measure not requested in October in 2000, 2001, 2003-2005 and 2012
Gallup


Gallup will launch its second and closing vacation spending forecast in mid- to late November.

View full query responses and tendencies (PDF obtain).

Learn extra about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.



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