LOUDONVILLE — Twenty-two percent of New Yorkers plan to spend more money on holiday gifts this year than last year, up from 17 percent in 2021 according to a new statewide survey of consumers released last week by the Siena College Research Institute.
Seventy-three percent are either very (34 percent) or somewhat (39 percent) excited about the holiday season up from 65 percent a year ago, the highest level of holiday excitement Siena has registered in 15 years of polling this question.
Up from 34 percent a year ago, 39 percent, now say that they believe in Santa Claus, the highest percentage recorded since Siena first asked New Yorkers about their belief in Santa in 2010. Seventy-eight percent will be putting up a Christmas Tree. Of those, 64 percent will be decorating an artificial tree while 34 percent will have a real tree in their home this holiday season.
Asked to name their preferred holiday greeting, a majority, 52 percent say ‘Merry Christmas’ while 34 percent most often say ‘Happy Holidays.’ Seventy-eight percent of New Yorkers feel very (46 percent) or somewhat (32 percent) hopeful that 2023 will be a better year than 2022 has been.
“New Yorkers are more excited about the holiday season than in any of the past 15 years, and they now believe in Santa more than in all the years Siena has asked about St. Nick, but more say that they are worse off financially now compared to last holiday season than those that say they are better off,” according to SCRI Director, Don Levy. “Still, nearly one in four plan to spend more on gifts this year than they did last year.”
Asked about their plans for holiday shopping, nearly one-fourth of New Yorkers plan on spending no more than $300 on gifts this holiday season, while 19 percent plan on spending $1,000 or more. Two-thirds of New Yorkers plan to shop in person at local independent retailers for their shopping this year and 65 percent plan to shop at small to medium-sized chain stores. Fifty-six percent will shop at big-box retailers, while 38 percent will buy gifts at local service businesses such as salons or gyms. Nearly half of New Yorkers, 47 percent say that they plan to conduct at least half to virtually all of their holiday shopping online and 61 percent say they have already or will shop earlier than usual this year.
“With nearly half of all New Yorkers and over 70 percent of those earning $100k or more planning to spend more than $500 on gifts, it looks like stockings will be full this year,” Levy said. “Some are spending more because of how excited they are and how hopeful they are for a better year ahead, but some may simply recognize that inflation has hit Santa along with all New Yorkers. Over half of residents with incomes under $50k plan to spend no more than $400 this holiday season.”
Sixty-six percent plan to purchase gift cards as holiday gifts and over a third, 35 percent, plan to buy experience gifts like concert or sporting event tickets or spa gift certificates.
Asked which holiday traditions they are looking forward to or dreading this year, majorities of New Yorkers say they are looking forward to traditions including: spending time with family (73 percent), eating and eating some more (63 percent), cooking for the holidays (60 percent), decorating the house (57 percent), and going to holiday parties (51 percent). On the other hand, they are dreading the following tradititions: spending money on gifts (33 percent), eating fruit cake (32 percent), wrapping gifts (29 percent), and attending concerts, pageants, or ceremonies (24 percent).