American Research Group, Inc.

November 21, 2018

2018 Christmas Gift Spending Plans Up Slightly from 2017

Shoppers around the country say they are planning to spend an average of $992 for gifts this holiday season, up from $983 last year according to the 34th annual survey on holiday spending from the American Research Group, Inc. Planned gift spending for 2018 is $9 above spending in 2017.

In interviews with a random sample of 1,100 adults nationwide conducted November 17 through 20, 2018 (see methodology for details), the average planned spending of $992 for 2018 is up nearly 1% from average planned spending in the 2018 survey.

Average planned spending peaked in 2001 at $1,052. Average planned spending has recovered from $417 in 2009, but remains below $1,000.

When average planned spending is adjusted for inflation beginning with the first survey in 1985, the average planned spending of $992 in 2018 would be worth $426 in 1985.

A total of 31% of shoppers say they plan to make holiday purchases from catalogs and other direct marketers.

Year Make Purchases From Catalogs
201831%
2017 34%
201636%
2015 31%
2014 45%
2013 38%
2012 40%
2011 42%
2010 26%
2009 36%
2008 43%
2007 51%
2006 50%
2005 47%
2004 47%

The average spending for those saying they plan to make catalog purchases is $1,383, compared to $1,451 in 2017, $1,225 in 2016, $794 in 2015, $1,014 in 2014, $1,166 in 2013, $808 in 2012, $808 in 2011, $560 in 2010, $450 in 2009, $496 in 2008, and $1,022 in 2007.

The planned use of the Internet to purchase gifts is at 67%, an all-time high for this survey.

Year Make Purchases On the Internet
201867%
2017 61%
201655%
2015 54%
2014 54%
2013 43%
2012 45%
2011 37%
2010 40%
2009 42%
2008 30%
2007 36%
2006 44%
2005 43%

The average planned spending by those saying they will make purchases on the Internet is $1,206, compared to $1,346 in 2017, $1,342 in 2016, $1,027 in 2015, $942 in 2014, $1,109 in 2013, $1,245 in 2012, $714 in 2011, $1,083 in 2010, $641 in 2009, $536 in 2008, and $967 in 2007.

Shoppers continue to say that they are more apt to wait for sales. When asked if they will pay full price for the gifts they purchase this year or if they will wait for the gifts to go on sale, 17% of shoppers say they plan to pay full price, 61% say they plan to wait until the items go on sale, and 21% say it will depend on the gifts.

Year Pay Full Price Wait for Sale Depends on The Gifts
201817%62%21%
2017 20% 57% 23%
201622%61%17%
2015 22% 51% 27%
2014 17% 49% 34%
2013 23% 46% 31%
2012 18% 54% 28%
2011 16% 53% 31%
2010 19% 55% 26%
2009 23% 53% 24%
2008 14% 50% 36%
2007 16% 50% 34%
2006 11% 33% 56%
2005 13% 75% 11%

Shoppers saying they will pay full price plan on spending $1,542, compared to $1,518 in 2017, $1,212 in 2016,  $443 in 2015, $465 in 2014, $930 in 2013, $1,351 in 2012, $751 in 2011, $413 in 2010, $402 in 2009, $751 in 2008, and $763 in 2007.

Those waiting for sales plan on spending $812, compared to $860 in 2017, $834 in 2016, $1,032 in 2015, $901 in 2014, $589 in 2013, $593 in 2012, $761 in 2011, $667 in 2010, $437 in 2009, $382 in 2008, and $805 in 2007.

And those saying it depends on the gifts plan on spending $938, compared to $942 in 2017, $900 in 2016, $955 in 2015, $967 in 2014, $1,071 in 2013, $1,005 in 2012, $396 in 2011, $1,179 in 2010, $383 in 2009, $373 in 2008, and $993 in 2007.

A total of 53% of consumers say they have started their Christmas shopping.

Year Have Started Christmas Shopping
201853%
2017 48%
201639%
2015 44%
2014 38%
2013 38%
2012 40%
2011 39%
2010 38%
2009 41%
2008 40%
2007 43%
2006 61%
2005 59%

The average planned spending for shoppers who have already started their holiday shopping is $1,197, compared to $1,227 in 2017, $1,182 in 2016, $636 in 2015, $666 in 2014, $727 in 2013, $699 in 2012, $734 in 2011, $1,044 in 2010, $544 in 2009, $602 in 2008, and  $1,068 in 2007.

The average for those who have not started their shopping is $761, compared to $756 in 2017, $765 in 2016, $1,074 in 2015, $1,051 in 2014, $846 in 2013, $950 in 2012, $591 in 2011, $441 in 2010, $329 in 2009, $316 in 2008, and  $724 in 2007.


About this survey:

Survey Sponsor: American Research Group, Inc.

The American Research Group has been conducting national surveys of consumers since 1985.

Sample Size: 1,100 completed interviews among a random sample of all adults age 18 and older living in households in the continental United States (see methodology for details).

Sample Dates: November 17-20, 2018

Margin of Error: 3 percentage points, 95% of the time, on questions where opinion is evenly split.

Question Wording:

What do you think you will spend on gifts this Christmas?

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Will you make any purchases through catalogs?

Will you make any purchases on the Internet?

When you purchase Christmas gifts this year, will you pay full price for the gifts or will you wait to see if the gifts go on sale?

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