Finance

Americans in Gallup poll say holiday spending will rise to 2019 level

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Americans plan to spend almost as much during the upcoming holiday season as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey. 

The Gallup poll released Thursday shows Americans plan to spend an average of $932 on gifts this season, close to the $942 that the survey giant recorded in 2019. 

Spending in 2020 saw the largest one-year drop recorded in the poll, Gallup noted, falling to $805 before it recovered slightly to $837 in 2021. 

Pollsters found 37 percent of Americans plan to spend at least $1,000 on Christmas gifts this year, while 20 percent plan to spend between $500 and $999. Only 3 percent said they plan to spend less than $100, in line with previous years. 

Despite the expected increase in average spending, 55 percent of respondents said they will spend about the same amount they did last year, while 26 percent said they will spend less and 17 percent said they will spend more. 

These percentages are similar to the past two years, but are more reserved than what Gallup recorded from 2017 to 2019. The most caution that Gallup has found among respondents in its polling was in 2008, amid the Great Recession, when spending dropped almost 5 percent. 

Gallup’s analysis states that Americans may be expecting to spend more on holiday shopping due to inflation. It also states that their intentions to buy higher-priced goods is a promising sign for retailers.

Gallup gathers estimates of how much Americans plan to spend during the holiday season annually each October. It said it cannot precisely predict how much consumers will spend, but the findings usually indicate the direction spending levels are going. 

Changes in the economy, gas prices and major news events can also influence spending, it noted. 

Fears about supply chain issues and inflation last year reportedly led many Americans to buy their gifts earlier. The combination of low unemployment and high savings caused retail sales in November and December of 2021 to increase by 14 percent, much higher than the average 4 percent increase in National Retail Foundation estimates since 2006.

The new poll was conducted from Oct. 3 to 20 among 1,009 U.S. adults. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.

Tags consumer spending Economy Gallup Holiday spending inflation

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