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Despite COVID-19 concerns, holiday spending looks solid

COVID-19 won’t stop consumers from spending on the holidays.

A new survey from Berkeley Research Group (BRG) reveals most consumers will spend the same or more on the holidays this year as in 2020.

According to the survey, 38% of respondents said their personal financial situation is better than last year, 41% rate it about the same, and 21% feel they are at least somewhat worse. When asked how concerned they are that the current COVID-19 situation will prevent them from celebrating the upcoming December/January holiday in a normal way as they usually would, 35% were somewhat concerned and 24% very concerned.

However, 21% of respondents were not too concerned about COVID-19 impacting the holidays, and 14% were not concerned at all. Five percent were not sure or said it was too soon to tell.

In one good sign for retailers, 48% of respondents plan to spend about the same on the holidays as they did last year. Seventeen percent plan to spend somewhat more than last year, and 11% plan to spend significantly more than last year, meaning three-quarters (76%) of respondents will spend the same or more on the holidays as they did in 2020.

Conversely, 14% of respondents plan to spend somewhat less than last year, but only 6% plan to spend significantly less than last year 6%. Five percent said they are not sure or it is too soon to tell.

When asked what factors they are “very concerned” about, a leading 45% of respondents are very concerned about the state of the U.S. economy and inflation 45%. Forty percent are very concerned about a member of their family contracting COVID-19. However, only 30% are very concerned about safely attending holiday gatherings/events, and 29% are very concerned about safely shopping stores and malls.

When asked when they plan to start their holiday shopping, respondents said:

  • It’s already completed 7%.
  • Have already started 27%.
  • September 11%
  • October 20%
  • early in November pre-Black Friday/Cyber Monday 24%
  • later in November on Black Friday/Cyber Monday 8%
  • December 9%

[Read more: Study: Consumers will shop early this holiday season]

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