How much are you spending on gifts this holiday season? These experts can tell you | The Numbers Racket

By: - December 7, 2020 6:30 am

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The holiday season may be well underway, but with a global pandemic wreaking havoc on businesses, the economy and jobs, the National Retail Federation’s annual consumer survey breaks down changes in planned holiday spending this year. 

The annual NRF consumer survey found that individuals plan to spend $998 on average on gifts, decorations and other holiday-related purchases in 2020. 

Here’s the breakdown: 

$650 … the average amount consumers plan to spend on gifts for family, friends and co-workers. 

$230 … the average amount consumers plan to spend on non-gift holiday purchases such as food and decorations. 

$117 … the average amount consumers plan to spend on themselves or their families. 

While the fall resurgence of COVID-19 rages on, 96 percent of retailers surveyed by NRF said they expect their online holiday sales to increase. 

The consumer survey found that planned in-person spending for 2020 decreased in two of the three areas (gifts, non-gift holiday items, other non-gift purchases) from 2019. 

  • Planned other non-gift purchases decreased by $44.71 from 2019 to $117.31.
  • Non-gift holiday items such as decorations and food purchases increased slightly by $2.75 from 2019 to $230.01. 
  • Planned gift spending decreased slightly from 2019 by $8.08 to $650.47. 

Expected spending 

The NRF brokedown the expected holiday expenditures between men and women. 

Male consumers said they planned to spend $1,105.97 on average on holiday-related purchases. Women said they planned to spend $896.79 on average. 

Shopping trends and factors

Here’s where consumers said they planned to shop this year: 

  • 60% of consumers said they planned to shop online this year. 
  • 45% of consumers said they planned to shop at Department Stores this year. 
  • 43% of consumers said they planned to shop at Discount Stores this year.
  • 23% of consumers said they planned to shop at Local/Small Businesses this year. 

The survey found that sales and discounts were the most important factor while shopping with 66 percent of consumers agreeing. 

Another 58 percent of consumers said the quality of the merchandise is important. 

Fifty-six percent of consumers said the selection of merchandise is important. 

Despite the anticipated increase in online shopping this year, only 33 percent of consumers said an easy-to-use website or mobile site was important. 

Similarly, just 49 percent of consumers said free shipping/shipping promotions were important. 


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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.