Inflation and an unpredictable economic future have resulted in Americans being more discerning about their spending, especially during the busiest and most expensive time of the year. As prices and bills continue to surge, consumers are looking to make some changes to their holiday celebrations without giving up what makes the festivities so special.
Overall, Americans expect to spend an average of $593 on holiday gifts this year, a decrease of 9% from 2021, according to a new study by consumer savings engine CouponFollow. Romantic partners ($117) and children ($105) will be the biggest gift recipients, but some other friends or family members will be left out altogether. A whopping 95% of those surveyed say they will be cutting one person from their holiday gift list.
For its “How Inflation Is Tightening Americans’ Holiday Budgets” study, CouponFollow polled 1,014 Americans (37% women, 63% men) across generational divides (25% Gen Z, 35% millennials, 25% Gen X, 15% baby boomers) about upcoming holiday spending habits and expectations in a year marked by gripping inflation.
Saving money is an important consideration this year and many respondents are planning on celebrating on the cheap. As CouponFollow’s study showed, that means making a concerted effort to save during the holidays, adopting a non-guilt regifting policy, crossing at least one person off your holiday shopping list and curbing non-essential spending.
Holiday Savings Strategies
Early holiday shopping is trending this year for a number of reasons. Spreading costs over a longer period of time makes it easier to manage your holiday budget and less likely that you will overspend. You’ll be able to find better deals earlier and make more financially sound decisions.
Behind using coupons (35%), shopping early (33%) was the second most popular answer given by respondents when asked, “Which of these money-saving strategies will you use this holiday season?” Other popular responses were looking for discounted items (31%), setting a holiday budget (31%) and paying in cash (30%). The study found that one in six Americans was not planning on saving money by not celebrating the holidays this year.
An Increase in Regifting
How times change. Once considered a faux pas, regifting is now thought of as a sustainable and resourceful practice, but one defined by etiquette (regifting nothing immediately identifiable, unique or sentimental).
Friends (51%), romantic partners (48%), children (47%) and parents (46%) are the most common recipients of a regift, according to CouponFollow’s study. The items people were most comfortable regifting were gift cards (39%), jewelry (38%), books (34%), toys (30%), clothing (29%) and candles (27%).
Conversely, re-gifters were less inclined to part with perfume or cologne (24%), decorations (23%), mugs or tumblers (22%), body lotion sets (22%), lingerie (17%) and assorted household items (13%).
Trimming Your Holiday Gift List
Per the CouponFollow study, only 5% indicated that they don’t plan on cutting anyone from their holiday gift list this year. An understanding friend (48%), romantic partner (46%), mother (44%), child (42%) or father (40%) will be among the first people to not receive a present, per the report.
That doesn’t mean gift-givers aren’t open to alternative ideas about giving. Of those polled, 62% would consider making a gift for someone, 52% would go in on a group gift, 38% would think about buying a second-hand gift and 24% would feel okay with promising a gift via an I.O.U.
Luxury and Discretionary Spending
Economic realities have turned Americans into thriftier, more necessity-driven shoppers this year and some retail sectors have already felt the effects of a financially-insecure public. As Reuters reported, according to data from three credit card companies — Bank of America, Citigroup and Mastercard — Americans have curtailed spending on luxury items in the weeks leading up to the holiday season.
U.S. shoppers spent 2% to 4% less on luxury goods in August and 5% to 6% less in September, per the credit card data. High-end brands will still get their wealthy spenders, but “aspirational” consumers — those younger with less wealth — are normally the first to decrease their discretionary spending, per Reuters.
Respondents of the CouponFollow study say they are going to spend less on discretionary purchases, too. A full 50% said they will cut back on travel during the holidays, followed by cuts to entertainment (49%), gifts (48%), food (47%) and decor and Christmas lights (34% and 33%, respectively).
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