Survey: Americans May Be More Willing to Open Their Wallets This Holiday Season Despite Being Less Merry Than in Years Past

While holiday cheer remains dampened this year compared to years past, Consumers’ Research’s fourth annual holiday survey suggests that consumers aren’t letting that keep them from opening up their wallets. Furthermore, despite the continued prevalence of online shopping, consumers are equally as likely to do most or all of their shopping in stores as online.

According to the results, 19% of respondents think this holiday season will be the merriest it could possibly be, which is virtually unchanged from 20% last year but down 6 percentage points from 25% in 2015. There is a notable gender difference in perceived merriment, with more women than men anticipating it will be as merry as possible, 21% to 16%. Yet despite this generally unmerry mood, only 19% said that sticking to a budget would be their highest priority during the holidays, which is considerably down from 24% in 2016 and 28% in 2015.

Americans are divided on where and how people plan to shop. Interestingly, 29% of respondents said that they plan to do most or all of their holiday shopping in a store, and an almost equal number (27%) said they plan to do most or all of their shopping online, while another 30% say they will do half in a store and half online. As for when people plan to do their shopping, respondents said Cyber Monday will be the most popular day (41%), followed by Black Friday (37%), the day after Christmas (26%), Small Business Saturday (23%) and Christmas Eve (13%). Millennials (25-34) are the least likely age group to support Small Business Saturday, with 80% saying they don’t plan to shop that day. In contrast, nearly 30% of young adults (18-24) – the highest level of support among different age brackets – plan to support Small Business Saturday.

But the numbers also show that a high percentage of people don’t really know when they plan to do their holiday shopping. For example, 57% said they would not be shopping on the most popular shopping day, Cyber Monday. Likewise, 62% said that they would not shop on Black Friday. Another interesting find is that 13% said they plan to shop on Christmas Eve. While this is a relatively low percentage of respondents, it does indicate that over 32 million Americans will be on the prowl for holiday bargains or some very last-minute gifts.

Consistent with past Consumers’ Research surveys, spending time with loved ones (55%) remains the most important priority for people during the holidays, followed by enhancing one’s spiritual life (20%), great meals (20%), sticking to a budget (19%), gift giving (15%), charitable giving (8%) and gift receiving (4%). The survey also asked what holiday gifts people found “very desirable.”

Once again, spending “quality time with loved ones” (55%) remains the most desirable gift, followed by: money (26%), getting a handmade gift (22%), receiving a gift card (19%), a monetary investment such as an IRA (13%) and a store-bought gift (12%). Cash-equivalent and financial investment gifts were particularly popular among young adults (18-24).

To view past Consumers’ Research holiday survey results, visit:

• 2016 survey:

• 2015 survey:

About the survey:
The survey was conducted from November 3-5 by OMNIWEB using the KnowledgePanel ™, a national online omnibus service of GfK Custom Research North America. A total of approximately 1,000 interviews were completed, made up of male and female adults (in approximately equal number), all 18 years of age and over. The margin of error on weighted data is + 3 percentage points for the full sample. The KnowledgePanel™ is the only commercially available online probability panel in the marketplace; making the sample truly projectable to the US population, which sets it apart from traditional “opt-in” or “convenience” panels.


Website | + posts

Kyle Burgess is the co-founder of two social enterprises and has worked in strategy, communications, and program management for a decade. Kyle received her Master’s degree in International Relations & Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and her Bachelor's degree in Political Science from American University.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Subscribe to get the latest consumer news

More consumer News