Majority Plan to Keep Budget & Names on the List Unchanged in 2014


Majority Plan to Keep Budget & Names on the List Unchanged in 2014
Holiday Spending Aimed at Practical; Spending Should Match Last Year
75% Will Donate to Help Needy; 36% Plan to Volunteer
Most NY’ers Say Looking Forward to Winter; Figuring out how to Endure Snow They Predict Will Meet or Exceed Average

Loudonville, NY – Fifty-nine percent of New Yorkers plan to spend about the same this year as last on holiday gifts while 32 percent plan to lessen their spending and 7 percent intend to spend more according to a new statewide survey of consumers released today by the Siena College Research Institute (SRI). Nearly two-thirds are buying gifts for the same number of people and 58 percent are budgeting the same dollars per individual this year as last. Similar to 2013, 64 percent (61 percent last year) plan to hold their gift spending under $600 while 23 percent (25 percent last year) have budgeted $1000 or more.

“Despite increasing overall consumer sentiment, holiday spending appears likely to be similar to last year. Every indicator – intended spending target, number of people on your list and actual dollars budgeted – looks nearly identical to last year’s plans,” according to SRI Director, Don Levy.

Fifty-eight percent of New Yorkers, down from 72 percent a year ago say that they are excited about the upcoming holiday season while 41 percent are either not very or not at all excited.

“Perhaps as part of the new economic normal, by two to one New Yorkers say that, as much as they can, they will buy practical gifts more than splurging on impractical items. While we won’t be wrapping up coal, it is more likely we’ll see needs, rather than wants, under the tree,” Levy said. “And, as a sign that consumers hope to stay within their budget, over eighty percent plan to pay now rather than let the bills extend well into 2015.”

Plans to shop online increased slightly this year as now 49 percent of New Yorkers intend to conduct at least 25 percent of their shopping online, up from 46 percent a year ago.

Charitable Giving and Volunteering

Seventy-five percent of all New Yorkers say that they will be making donations of money, food or gifts to charitable organizations that focus on the needy during the holiday season.

“The warmth of New Yorkers is evident in this survey as even in the face of a sluggish economy, across every demographic group, overwhelming majorities plan to give to help others enjoy this season. Even among those making less than $50K, nearly two-thirds plan to donate,” Levy notes.

Thirty-six percent, up slightly from 33 percent last year, will volunteer some of their time this holiday season for organizations that help people during the holidays.

Mixed Feelings about Winter and Snow

Asked to assess their feelings about winter, 60 percent of New Yorkers said that while ‘it may be cold, it is a special time of year’ and that they look forward to winter activities and all the season provides but 36 percent admit that they ‘dread it’ especially the cold and the darkness. Thirty-nine percent of New Yorkers (the survey was conducted prior to the recent record snowfall in Western NY) predict more than average snow this year, 37 percent expect an average accumulation while only 16 percent expect less than average snow.

“A strong majority is excited about winter’s arrival but sentiment flips when the topic is snow. A majority, when thinking about the white stuff, describes themselves as someone that figures out how to endure it and as one that wouldn’t be upset if we had very little of it rather than as someone that gets excited as the flurries start to add up and the skis and snowshoes beckon,” according to Levy.

Tree and Greetings

Seventy percent of all New Yorkers put up a Christmas Tree for the holidays but of those, 61 percent have an artificial rather than real tree. A majority, 51 percent, most often use ‘Merry Christmas’ as their holiday greeting rather than ‘Happy Holidays’ (38 percent) or ‘Seasons’ Greetings’ (6 percent).

The SRI survey of Holiday Spending Plans was conducted November 3-17, 2014 by random telephone calls to 809 New York adults via landline and cell phones. Data was statistically adjusted by age, race/ethnicity and gender to ensure representativeness. SRI reports this data at a 95% confidence level with a margin of error of +/- 3.4 points. The Siena College Research Institute, under the direction of Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in New York State. For more information or comments, please call Dr. Don Levy, Director Siena College Research Institute, at 518-783-2901. Survey cross-tabulations and frequencies can be found at