It’s easy to spend a lot on the holidays — from parties with friends to decorations for your home. The bulk of holiday spending, though, tends to be on gifts.
To find out just how generous Americans will be this holiday season, GOBankingRates surveyed more than 4,000 adults across the U.S. We asked, “How much do you plan to spend overall on holiday gifts for family, friends, etc. this year?” Respondents could choose one of six spending ranges:
$0 – $199
$200 – $399
$400 – $599
$600 – $799
$800 – $999
$1,000 or more
The most common response was $0 to $199, with nearly 33 percent of respondents choosing this answer. But, we wanted to find out if holiday spending varied by state.
To determine average spending for each state, we multiplied the percentage of respondents in each answer choice by the midpoint spending price (i.e., $100, $300, $500, $700, $900 and $1,100), then calculated the sum of those numbers. Click through to see how much Americans plan to spend on the holidays this year.
These States Spend the Least on Gifts
The states that spend the least on gifts range from California, where necessities are more expensive and living costs are higher, to Kansas, where the cost of living is lower than the national average. Residents in these 10 states will likely save money this holiday season by keeping their spending low.
Average spending: $455.21
Although the average amount Pennsylvania residents will spend on holiday gifts is among the lowest in our survey, 14 percent of respondents here plan to spend $1,000 or more. Only two other states among the top 10 that spend the least on gifts have a higher percentage of respondents who plan to spend that much — Maryland and North Carolina.
Average spending: $449.58
California residents might be spending less on holiday shopping than residents of most other states because their budgets already are stretched thin. It’s one of the states where residents are most likely to live paycheck to paycheck, so they might be forced to keep holiday spending in check.
Average spending: $449.15
A higher percentage of respondents in Kansas than nationwide — 39 percent versus 33 percent — plan to spend only $0 to $199 on the holidays. However, among the top 10 states that will spend the least, Kansas has the highest percentage of respondents who plan to spend $800 to $999 — 14 percent.
Average spending: $445.95
Although the most common amount Idaho residents plan to spend on holiday gifts is $0 to $199, the second-most common response is $600 to $799. About 27 percent of respondents said they expect to spend this much. It’s the highest percentage to choose this spending range of any state.
6. North Carolina
Average spending: $445.76
Among the top 10 states that will spend the least on the holidays, North Carolina has the second-highest percentage of respondents who will spend $1,000 or more — 16 percent. However, the nearly 36 percent who plan to spend only $0 to $199 on holiday shopping keep the state’s overall average low.
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Average spending: $443.94
Although the median household income in Maryland is among the highest in the U.S., residents here appear to be keeping a tight rein on holiday spending. Maryland has the sixth-highest percentage of respondents — about 40 percent — who plan to spend just $0 to $199.
Average spending: $428.33
The percentage of Colorado residents who plan to spend $0 to $199 on holiday gifts tops the national percentage — 37 percent versus 33 percent. Plus, Colorado has a smaller percentage of respondents than respondents nationwide who expect to shell out $1,000 or more — 13 percent versus 17 percent. For Colorado residents caught up in the statewide housing bubble, it stands to reason they’re saving their money to spend on other things this year.
Average spending: $412.00
In Delaware, there was a three-way tie for the most-common amount residents plan to spend on the holidays — $0 to $199, $200 to $399 and $400 to $599. In total, 84 percent of the state’s respondents said they’ll spend less than $600, which helped keep the average overall spending low.
Average spending: $400.00
When it comes to the holidays, Alaska residents don’t appear to be big spenders. A total of 79 percent of respondents plan to spend less than $600 — with $0 to $199 being the most common amount Alaskan residents plan to spend. Only about 21 percent plan to spend $600 or more.
Average spending: $348.28
Nearly half of Maine’s residents plan to spend $0 to $199 on holiday gifts, which is why the average spending overall in the state is so low. It’s hard to say whether it’s because they’re being responsible or if there’s another reason.
However, Maine residents could be seriously underestimating how much they’re going to spend. That’s because the National Retail Federation found that the average amount Americans plan to spend on holiday gifts this year is $608.06.
These States Spend the Most on Gifts
Respondents in these 10 states plan to open their wallets wider than residents of other states. In fact, eight of these states have a higher percentage of respondents who plan to spend $1,000 or more than the national average of 17 percent.
Average spending: $524.76
Although the most common amount Virginia residents plan to spend on the holidays is $0 to $199, the percentage of respondents who chose this option is smaller than the national percentage rate — 27 percent versus 33 percent. And the percentage of Virginia residents who plan to spend $800 to $999 is twice as high as the percentage nationwide — 16 percent versus 8 percent.
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Average spending: $526.39
Indiana has one of the highest percentages of respondents who plan to spend $1,000 or more on holiday shopping — nearly 22 percent. The cost of living is low in Indiana, and a GOBankingRates study found that it’s one of the best states for the middle class. So Indiana residents might have a little more wiggle room in their budgets to spend more on the holidays.
Average spending: $527.66
Kentucky has the second-lowest percentage of respondents who plan to spend $0 to $199 — just 26 percent. Plus, it has a slightly higher percentage of residents — 19 percent — than the percentage nationwide who plan to spend more than $1,000. As a result, average holiday spending here is higher than in most states.
7. North Dakota
Average spending: $527.78
At 25 percent, North Dakota has the lowest percentage of residents who expect to spend $0 to $199 on holiday gifts. There’s a tie for the second-most common amount North Dakota respondents plan to spend: $1,000 or more and $200 to $399. On average, North Dakota residents will spend $54 more on gifts than their neighbors in South Dakota.
Average spending: $531.03
Arkansas has the third-highest percentage of residents who plan to spend $800 to $999 on gifts — 17 percent. In fact, this is the second-most common spending range in the state after $0 to $199. Given that Arkansas has one of the lowest median household incomes in the nation, residents might want to take steps to avoid holiday overspending.
Average spending: $532.35
Although 32 percent of respondents in Montana said they’ll spend $0 to $199 on holiday gifts, the second-most common response was $1,000 or more — with 22 percent of respondents choosing this option. The high percentage of residents willing to open their wallets that wide during the holidays raised the overall average for the state.
Average spending: $536.36
Given that Connecticut has the second-highest median household income in the U.S., it makes sense that residents plan to spend more on holiday gifts. Nearly a quarter of respondents expect to spend $1,000 or more. However, about 34 percent plan to spend only $0 to $199.
3. New York
Average spending: $541.57
New Yorkers are expected to spend the third-highest average amount on holiday gifts, according to the survey, even though New York has some of the highest living costs in the country. That’s because 41 percent of the state’s respondents plan to spend $600 or more. Of those, 23 percent expect to spend $1,000 or more on gifts.
2. New Jersey
Average spending: $553.49
Although the most common amount New Jersey residents said they will spend on holiday gifts is $0 to $199, the second-most popular answer was $1,000 or more. In fact, the difference between the two was relatively small — 28 percent versus 22 percent. Altogether, nearly 45 percent of the state’s respondents plan to spend $600 or more.
1. New Hampshire
Average spending: $646.67
New Hampshire is the only state with a higher percentage of residents who plan to spend $1,000 or more than $0 to $199 — 33 percent versus 27 percent. And another 20 percent said they plan to spend $800 to $999.
The state’s high average holiday spending of $646.67 might be related to its median household income, which is the highest in the U.S. Even so, residents who spend that much could easily spend an entire paycheck on gifts.
Methodology: GOBankingRates posed the following question to 5,036 respondents: “How much do you plan to spend overall on holiday gifts for family, friends, etc. this year?” Respondents could choose one of six spending ranges: $0 – $199, $200 – $399, $400 – $599, $600 – $799, $800 – $999 or $1,000 or more. Responses were collected through a Google Consumer Survey conducted Nov. 1-3, 2017, and responses are representative of the U.S. online population. The study has a 3.9 percent margin of error.