LOUDONVILLE — More people are excited about the holiday season this year than last, but that doesn’t mean they are going to be spending any more money on gifts.
According to a poll released by Siena College Research Institute, two thirds of New Yorkers are somewhat or very excited about this year’s season, up from 59 percent last year, when COVID put a damper on everything.
Forty-three percent, though, plan to spend as much money as last year with 37 percent saying they will spend less and 17 percent saying they will spend more. Eighteen percent, down from 32 percent a year ago, will spend $1,000 or more while 32 percent will spend less than $300.
In positive news for bricks and mortar retailers, fewer people are planning on shopping online. The poll found 47 percent plan to do at least 50 percent of their shopping online, down from 57 percent last year when people were still on edge about mingling among crowds in fear of COVID. Fifty-two percent are planning to shop more in person than online.
More than two-thirds say they will visit local independent stores or small-to-medium chain stores and 59 percent will frequent big box retailers. And two-thirds plan to purchase gift cards and 28 percent plan to buy “experience gifts” like concert or sporting tickets or spa gift cards.
Considering the problems in the supply chain and the steadily increasing prices caused by inflation, 70 percent of those buying gifts have already begun or are planning to begin shopping earlier than usual.
More people believe in Santa Clause this year, 34 percent, than last year, 26 percent. But, 44 percent believe cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are legitimate forms of money.
“Belief in Santa and Bitcoin, hmmm, is an odd combo this season but perhaps we’re seeing a changing of the guard,” said SCRI Director, Don Levy. “Belief in Bitcoin’s legitimacy is highest among younger consumers and lowest among those age 65 and above while saying I believe in Santa is most difficult for those 18-34 years of age to express.”
Other findings include:
- 74 percent look forward to spending time with family while 7 percent are dreading the interactions.
- 58 percent are looking forward to eating holiday fare but 54 percent look forward to preparing it.
- 47 percent look forward to wrapping gifts while 25 percent dread the job.
- 42 percent look forward to going to holiday parties while 21 percent are dreading it.
- 42 percent say they are doing the same financially as last year while 26 percent are better off and 30 percent are worse off.
- 53 percent look forward to decorating the house, 17 dread the task and 13 percent won’t do it.
- 26 percent are looking forward to attending holiday concerts, pageants or ceremonies while 34 percent dread it.
- 23 percent look forward to eating fruit cake and 30 percent are dreading it and 35 won’t do it.
After a dreadful 2020 and a rocky 2021, 43 percent of the people are hopeful 2022 will be better, 33 percent are somewhat hopeful, 12 percent are not very hopeful and 9 percent are not at all hopeful about prospects next year.
“Needless to say, it’s been a rough year. Most New Yorkers are hopeful that 2022 will be a better year than 2021 has been,” Levy said. “Here’s hoping they’re right.”
The SCRI Holiday Spending Plan poll was conducted Nov. 8 to Nov. 16 by calling 395 random New Yorkers and 400 online surveys. It carries a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent.