Residents are looking to spend about the same this holiday season as last year, according to a recent survey, but a majority of shoppers are eyeing more practical gifts.
Siena Research Institute released its annual Statewide Poll of Holiday Spending on Monday, Nov. 24, which was conducted from Nov. 3 to 17 through random calls to landline or cell phones of 809 residents. Approximately 59 percent of the shoppers surveyed are planning to spend about the same as last year, and nearly two-thirds are planning to buy gifts for the same number of people.
“Despite increasing overall consumer sentiment, holiday spending appears likely to be similar to last year,” SRI Director Don Levy said in a statement. “Every indicator — intended spending target, number of people on your list and actual dollars budgeted — looks nearly identical to last year’s plans.”
While a majority of people are excited about this holiday season, with 58 percent “very” or “somewhat” excited, spirits apparently dampened from last year. This year, 41 percent of people are “not very” or “not at all” excited about the holidays, but last year it was only 27 percent.
There was a similar response regarding how many people are looking forward to the winter, which was at 60 percent. Many people apparently do not look forward to seeing a lot of snow piled up outside their windows.
“A strong majority is excited about winter’s arrival but sentiment flips when the topic is snow,” Levy said in a statement. “A majority, when thinking about the white stuff, describe themselves as someone that figures out how to endure it and as one that wouldn’t be upset if we had very little of it.”
As people unwrap their gifts, they are more likely to see a practical gift than something they want more than they really need. Overall, 65 percent of people opted to purchase practical gifts as much as they possible, but the more income someone has, the more likely they will purchase less practical gifts.
“Perhaps as part of the new economic normal, by 2-to-1, New Yorkers say that, as much as they can, they will buy practical gifts more than splurging on impractical items. While we won’t be wrapping up coal, it is more likely we’ll see needs, rather than wants, under the tree,” Levy said in a statement.
Compared to last year, a similar percentage of people are planning to spend about the same amount on gifts (59 percent) and for about the same about of people (63 percent). There are 31 percent planning to spend up to $299 on gifts, with a similar total looking to spend from $300 to $599 at 33 percent. On the opposite end, 23 percent are planning to spend more than $1,000.
Despite a somewhat frugal approach to gift giving for many residents, the vast majority, at 75 percent, are planning to donate money, food or gifts to charitable organizations.
“The warmth of New Yorkers is evident in this survey as even in the face of a sluggish economy, across every demographic group, overwhelming majorities plan to give to help others enjoy this season,” Levy said in a statement.
The amount drops off however with those looking to donate their time falling at 36 percent.
The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points. Approximately 39 percent of the sample is from Upstate, 43 percent are New York City, and 21 percent is from “suburbs.”