Poll: No surprise, consumers will spend less during holidays thanks to inflation

One in three New Jerseyans said they will spend less money on holiday gifts this year due to inflation.

But, that’s only part of the story.

While nearly half (46%) are spending the same, only 13% say they are spending more. And …  wait for it: Almost half (47%) of poll respondents said they are spending less on everyday expenses to save more money for holiday shopping.

Such are the results of a Stockton University Poll released Monday. The poll spoke with 570 New Jersey adults between Oct. 26-Nov. 15.

John Froonjian, director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy, used his best holiday references to discuss the findings.

“Inflation has gripped consumers with Grinch-like tenacity,” he said. “It is making holiday shopping more challenging, but people will spend less on their daily expenses to maintain the spirit of giving.”

Here are some other data points:

  • What’s in your wallet? 42% described their financial situation as worse than a year ago, with 41% saying it’s about the same and 15% saying it’s better.
  • A tough age: Adults ages 30-49 — the group most likely to be raising children — are especially challenged by the economy, according to the poll. About three-quarters (76%) said inflation is affecting their spending plans, including 45% who are greatly impacted. Sixty percent said they have cut back on living expenses to be able to afford the holidays.
  • Over the river and …: About one in four (27%) New Jersey adults planned to travel over the holidays, but most (68%) did not. Fourteen percent said they had to change or cancel their travel plans, and 42% of all respondents said cost affected their decisions about taking holiday trips. One in five said airline disruptions and concern about flight cancelations affected their thinking, and 22% said concerns about COVID-19 affected their travel decisions.
  • Shop ’til you …: Among those who will shop for the holidays (11% will do no shopping), 53% planned to shop online using apps on a device or through retailer websites, while 30% planned to go to stores in person. Either way, some shoppers were already experiencing pandemic-era shopping frustrations. One in five said the gift they wanted to buy was out of stock, and one in three have experienced shipping delays.
  • But it’s not even Thanksgiving: One out of five shoppers (21%) got an early jump and started shopping in October or earlier, and 22% started earlier this month. Thirty percent are waiting until Thanksgiving or early December to get started, and 6% are waiting until late December to start their shopping.

For full results of the poll, click here.