Americans Plan to Spend Less this Holiday Season

Holiday season sales are a key period for merchants across the U.S. Each year Americans spend about $1,000 extra on the holiday season, on average.

But the year 2020 is different. Between the noise of a contended presidential election, a pandemic and ongoing job losses, we might assume that our spending habits might change as well. 

How many American families are planning to cut back on holiday spending this year? That’s what we wanted to find out so we surveyed 861 Americans to see how much consumer spending could change. 

Do you plan to spend more or less this holiday season? (Nov/Dec 2020)

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Nearly half of Americans plan on spending less on the holidays this year

A whopping 90% of Americans plan on spending less (48%), or about the same (42%) this year. This reflects the caution individual consumers are showing given the wave of shutdowns and cutbacks over 17 million Americans have faced since early Spring.

How might another round of pandemic relief for Americans affect holiday spending?

The average American is said to spend about $1,000 extra (beyond normal monthly spending) on the holidays each year. That closely resembles the amount distributed to all Americans earlier this year ($1,200). Legislators are also working on another round of stimulus checks that may or may not be passed and probably wouldn’t arrive in our bank accounts before the holidays. But would knowing that check was on the way increase your holiday spending? That’s one hypothetical economists and politicians will hash out this quarter. 

Of those that plan to spend more this year most (60%) say they’ll do so with cash, not credit cards or other debt

We asked people who were planning to spend more this holiday how they’ll plan on paying (cash or with debt of some kind). 60% say they’ll use cash for presents, decorations and other holiday needs — while just 20% say they’ll use credit cards to complete their purchases.