Americans Will Spend More Money on Christmas This Year

The holidays are a time of togetherness, a time to celebrate one’s faith, and a time to forget about all of the day-to-day stresses, just for a little while. But with all of the planning, shopping, and spending, a peaceful and calm holiday season can quickly turn chaotic, especially when most people worry about overspending.

Gallup recently conducted a survey on holiday spending, with the results showing that an overwhelming 91% of Americans plan to shop for Christmas presents during this holiday season, while only 9% say they won’t be shopping. Overall, consumers plan on spending an average of $720; $790, if you don’t include those who plan on spending $0.

Our planned spending for this year’s holiday season represents an increase compared to this time last year, when in November 2013, we estimated we’d spend $704 on Christmas shopping. Given these estimates, we should come out spending between 2.2% and 3.5% more than last year.

How much are people planning to spend?

Here’a a breakdown of how much consumers plan to spend on Christmas shopping:

Graphic: Erika Rawes | Data source: Gallup

Forty-six percent of consumers plan on spending at least $500, with 25% of people planning to spend in excess of $1,000. Only around one in four people plan on spending less that $250, and a handful of people (5%) are going to stay under a $100 limit.

Plans change

Over the past several years, Gallup has asked consumers how much they intend on spending on holiday shopping during both the month of October and the month of November. In six out of the last eight years that Gallup reported results for both October and November, consumers lowered their estimates in November.

Graphic: Erika Rawes | Data source: Gallup

As you may notice in the chart above, consumers planned on spending $781 on Christmas shopping in October. But now that it’s November and the shopping season is actually approaching, people are being a bit more realistic about how much they can afford.

In 2008, consumers lowered their estimates by nearly $200 between October and November. As people organize their budgets and get ready to shop, they may come to terms with the logistical ramifications associated with spending so much on holiday shopping, and in turn, reduce their planned spending.

What else impacts holiday spending?

In addition to changes in individual consumer budgets, economic factors come into play, as well. During 2008 and 2009, when economic concerns were high for the whole country, consumers got “cold-feet syndrome” (as Gallup calls it) during November and reduced their planned spending dramatically. Inclement weather may also impact consumers’ desires to weather the storm of other shoppers who are out there battling for those door-buster deals.

All in all, most consumers will buy as much as they are comfortable buying, and that depends on each individual household. How much do you plan to spend this holiday season?

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