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09/17/2021

Survey: Nearly half of consumers will boost holiday spending

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Scaled-back 2020 holiday celebrations may lead to higher spending in 2021.

Many shoppers intend to spend more money on the holidays in 2021 due to COVID-19’s impact on their 2020 celebrations.

According to the first Consumer Spend Report from financial products and services company Affirm, 48% of 2,000 surveyed consumers said they plan to spend more money for the 2021 holiday season due to the pandemic dampening their 2020 holidays. Regardless of the pandemic, seven in 10 respondents said they typically go over budget during the holidays.

More than half (54%) of respondents plan to spend more in 2021 than 2020 on holiday experiences — like traveling or attending and hosting parties — over physical gifts to make this holiday season special. In fact, for 2021, the top gift respondents plan to give to their loved ones is a memorable experience (42%) – such as tickets to a concert or sporting event – followed by electronics (29%), clothing (25%) and a vacation (26%).

[Read more: Survey: 36% of holiday shoppers to increase spending, highest number since 2018]

Staying on budget is respondents’ top holiday shopping concern (41%), followed by incurring long-term debt (31%), shipping costs (28%) ​​and being charged late or hidden fees (26%). More than half of respondents say they typically have anxiety over holiday shopping.

Six in 10 respondents (61%) no longer wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to start. One in five started their shopping in September, with nearly one-quarter (23%) saying that beginning holiday shopping early is good because they want to better budget.

Additional key findings include:

  • Respondents plan to spend the most on their significant other – nearly $400, on average, and just over $300 for each immediate family member.
  • The top holiday gifts Americans hope to receive include a ​vacation (27%), new clothing (26%), and gifts to create a memorable experience, such as tickets to a concert or sports game (24%).
  • More than seven in 10 (72%) of respondents plan to rely heavily on online shopping to avoid crowds, as 57% anticipate that this year’s holiday shopping season will be busier than a typical year.
  • Fifty-six percent of respondents are interested in using a pay-over-time solution like Affirm for holiday shopping during the 2021 season. Of those, seven in 10 (69%) will use a pay-over-time solution to help keep them on budget, even if they could pay for the item in full.

“In addition to getting a head start on their holiday shopping, consumers are taking advantage of flexible payment solutions to help them spend responsibly this year. Over half of Americans are interested in using a pay-over-time solution for their holiday shopping this year and the majority (69%) will do so because they believe it helps them better budget,” said Silvija Martincevic, chief commercial officer at Affirm. “With Affirm, consumers can responsibly navigate holiday spending by spreading out their purchases into simple biweekly or monthly payments.”

The online survey was conducted by OnePoll for Affirm in August 2021, with a sample of 2,000 Americans.