Anticipated spending on holiday gifts is expected to drop significantly this year amid a retail slump due to the coronavirus pandemic, a Gallup poll released Tuesday found.
American shoppers surveyed between Sept. 30 and Oct. 15 reported that they expect to spend an average of $805 on gifts this year, down from last year’s estimate of $942 and the lowest October holiday spending projection Gallup has measured since 2016.
Additionally, 28 percent of those surveyed in the new poll said they will be spending less on holiday gifts than they did in 2019, compared to just 12 percent who anticipated spending more.
According to Gallup, the percentage of those planning to spend less is the highest it has been since 2012.
Data from the National Retail Federation indicate that holiday sales have generally increased each year by an average of about 2 percent to 5 percent since 2000.
Gallup notes that in the last 20 years, holiday sales have been worse than current projections in only 2008 and 2009, during and in the aftermath of the December 2007 to June 2009 recession.
Gallup, which measures anticipated holiday spending in October and November, said that although it is possible that spending expectations could increase over the next month, sales will likely only stabilize as COVID-19 continues to ravage the country.
Gallup will release its second and final 2020 holiday spending forecast next month.
Decreased sales amid the pandemic have resulted in widespread layoffs and unemployment, although the number of Americans who filed their first claims for unemployment fell to 787,000 in the week that ended on Oct. 17, according to the Labor Department.
However, unemployment numbers continue to hit historic highs as the Trump administration and Congress hold ongoing talks to pass another coronavirus relief package.