Poll: High prices, supply chain issues adding to holiday stress

A new poll from Monmouth University found that top stressors this holiday season are gift-giving and traveling. Overall, 3 in 10 said they feel more holiday stress this year than during pre-pandemic holiday seasons and the number of people who find the holidays more enjoyable than other times of the year has declined.

Supply chain issues are naughty and causing about 4 in 10 Americans to report that they are experiencing a higher than usual number of related issues, causing them to pare down their shopping lists due to rising prices. Nineteen percent have cut back a lot, 21% a little, while nearly half (48%) say they are purchasing the same number of gifts as usual.

Between a third and just under half of Americans have experienced an increase in supply chain problems while shopping for gifts this year. This includes items being out of stock at stores (46% say this has happened more often than usual compared to past years), items being out of stock online (41%), and packages being delayed or going missing (34%).

Despite these experiences with supply chain problems, the country as a whole has not made much of a change to its typical holiday shopping timeline. Just 22% of the public reports getting most of their shopping done by the end of November, and 32% expect to wrap things up by mid-December. Another third (36%) will leave the bulk of their shopping until the last 10 days before Christmas. These results are nearly identical to shopping timeframe intentions reported in Monmouth’s 2018 poll.

“Inflation and supply chain problems are having an impact on holiday shopping. It appears that most Americans are trying to make this year as normal as they can, but it may be taking some of the joy out of the season,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Just over 1 in 3 Americans (36%) found the holiday season to be more enjoyable than the rest of the year. This number has declined from 44% in 2015 and 41% in 2018. At the same time, 29% felt that the holidays are more stressful than the rest of the year, which has not really changed over the past six years (27% in 2015 and 29% in 2018).

Even though the number of people who reported feeling the holiday season is more stressful than the rest of the year remains unchanged, about 3 in 10 (29%) American adults said they are experiencing more stress now compared with pre-pandemic holiday seasons. Another 10% said they actually have less stress than they did before COVID-19. When asked to compare their current holiday stress to last year — a time when the COVID infection rate was reaching its peak — 34% said they have less stress now, while 19% said they actually have more holiday stress than they did in 2020.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from Dec. 2-6 among 808 adults age 18 and older. This includes 285 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 523 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English.