Americans plan on spending more this holiday season despite lingering concerns about inflation, shortages and high prices, with many fearing the economy will fare worse next year, according to a recent CNBC survey.
Based on data from the quarterly CNBC All-America Economic Survey, people are willing to spend $1,004 on average for buying gifts, an increase of about 13 percent from 2020 and the highest in three years, indicating a slight but shaky return of consumer confidence and disposable income. Back in 2018, the number was at $1,118, while in 2014, it was $765.
“I think it will be a good Christmas,” Jay Campbell, partner at Hart Research Associates, the Democratic pollsters for the survey, said to the media outlet. “People will be spending and consumers are willing, eager and mostly able to get out of their houses and back into stores to spend those dollars.”
The survey found that 15 percent planned to spend more, which is an increase of 11 percent last year, while 35 percent of individuals were going to spend less, down from 39 percent in 2020.
More than a third wanted to buy early on to prevent stock shortages in stores and a quarter were concerned their gifts will not arrive on time, signifying how the supply chain crisis has affected the purchase choices of Americans.
Of people planning to spend more, one-third said it was due to having more money, 25 percent said they had more people to give gifts to this year, and 16 percent said that it was due to high prices.
As for those who plan on spending less this year, 25 percent blamed it on the state of the economy, 21 percent cited issues with paying bills, while 17 percent said they wanted to save money.
“I’d say the holiday spending numbers in this poll are relatively solid,” said Micah Roberts, partner at Public Opinion Strategies, the Republican pollsters for the survey. “But it doesn’t get rid of the cost of living stressors that Americans are under.”
During the survey last quarter, COVID-19 and inflation were tied in the No. 1 position as top issues of concern in people’s minds. However, this time, inflation has captured the top position, pushing ahead of the pandemic.
Forty-one percent of Americans believe the economy will get worse in 2022. Thirty-five percent of people voted for Amazon as their go-to choice for online shopping, followed by local businesses and Etsy with 7 percent, and Walmart at 5 percent.
Half of the people surveyed chose e-commerce as their preferred method of shopping. Although there has been a decrease, about 23 percent are still fearful of visiting malls due to the pandemic.
The supply shortages in stores may intensify as the present logjam of ships coming into ports has become the longest on record. There are almost 100 ships waiting to offload cargo in U.S. ports with the average waiting time extending to 21 days.
The survey was conducted from Dec. 1 to Dec. 4 with a pool of 800 U.S. adults.