According to CreditCards.com, just 53% of the 1,093 consumers it polled in October intend to spend $50 or more on their most expensive gift this year, while 35% plan to spend less than $50 on their priciest gift, and 12% don’t intend to buy any gifts at all.
Furthermore, the survey revealed that just 9% of consumers are planning to spend $250 or more on their most expensive gift, leading the report to conclude that Americans are shunning expensive items in favour of smaller gifts that are “easier on the wallet and more meaningful to the recipient”.
The survey also revealed a notable gender divide when it comes to holiday shopping this year, with 37% of men saying their most expensive gift will go to their significant other compared to just 26% of women, who are more inclined to buy gifts for their children and grandchildren (47% versus 24% of men).
Seeking to explain why Americans appear to be more thrifty this year, CreditCards.com suggested consumers could be worried about a new economic downturn after years of slow post-recession growth.
“I think there’s a lot of fear amongst consumers right now,” said Michael F. Kay, President of Financial Life Focus, a financial advice company.
“They’re watching the stock market rise significantly, and they don’t understand why the markets are going up the way they are,” he added. “When there is uncertainty, people tend to become a little more conservative in letting their dollars go.”
And the trend towards online shopping may also explain why consumers are being so cost-conscious, the report added.
It has been recognised for a long time that online shoppers search hard for bargains and, according to the survey results, 39% of respondents plan to buy their most expensive gift online compared to 36% who intend to buy it in a physical store.
Sourced from CreditCards.com; additional content by WARC staff