Annual Statewide Poll of Holiday Spending Plans
Majority Plan to Keep Holiday Budget Unchanged in 2017; 50% Will Stay Under $500 on Gifts; A Quarter to Spend More than $1000
‘Merry Christmas’ Top Holiday Greeting; 33% Believe in Santa
76% Will Donate to Help Needy; 36% Plan to Volunteer
Loudonville, NY – Sixty-one percent of New Yorkers plan to spend about the same this year as last on holiday gifts while 28 percent plan to lessen their spending and 9 percent intend to spend more according to a new statewide survey of consumers released today by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI). Half of New Yorkers plan to hold their gift spending under $500, while 26 percent have budgeted $1000 or more, and just under a quarter intend to spend between $500 and $1000 this holiday season.
A small majority of state residents, 55 percent, most often say ‘Merry Christmas’ rather than ‘Happy Holidays’ (35 percent) during this time of the year. Thirty-three percent of New Yorkers say that they believe in Santa with St. Nicholas support highest among Catholics and Latinos. Over three-quarters will be making donations of money, food or gifts to charitable organizations that focus on the needy during the holiday season and 36 percent plan to volunteer for organizations that help people during the holidays.
“With a majority of New Yorkers saying that their finances are about the same as a year ago, it’s not surprising that most hope to keep holiday spending about the same. Still, with more than two-thirds at least somewhat excited about the holiday season, overall consumer sentiment up slightly from a year ago, and appreciably from 2014, spending may well exceed best-laid plans,” according to SCRI Director, Don Levy.
“By two-to-one New Yorkers say that, as much as they can, they will buy practical gifts more than splurging on special 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. “Still, every indicator, especially among affluent New Yorkers, points to increased spending this holiday season.”
Seventy percent of New Yorkers plan to conduct at least some of their shopping online this year. Nearly 20 percent of all state residents and a quarter of younger residents as well as 28 percent of those earning at least $100,000 a year, will do at least 75 percent of their shopping online.
Seventy percent of all New Yorkers will put up a Christmas Tree for the holidays but of those, 58 percent plan to have an artificial rather than real tree. Upstaters are most likely to have a tree in their home and while a majority are more inclined to choose an artificial tree, 46 percent of Upstate Christmas trees will be real this year.
“A large majority of New Yorkers say that there is ‘No War on Christmas’. Still, a third of all state residents and just over half of Republicans do believe that Christmas is under assault,” Levy said. “But with well over half saying that ‘Merry Christmas’ is their favorite seasonal greeting, a solid third proudly saying that Santa is real and eighty-five percent planning to celebrate Christmas, the holiday will be warmly enjoyed across New York in 2017.”
Fifteen percent of all New Yorkers including 98 percent of Jews will celebrate Hanukkah and five percent of all New Yorkers including 22 percent of African-Americans will celebrate Kwanzaa. Only 3 percent plan to include a Festivus celebration in their holiday plans. Nearly all Catholics and Protestants plan to celebrate Christmas this year and they will be joined by a quarter of Jewish New Yorkers.
The SCRI survey of Holiday Spending Plans was conducted November 6-15, 2017 by random telephone calls to 804 New York adults via landline and cell phones. Respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household. Sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline and cell phone telephone numbers (both from Survey Sampling International) from within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns. Data was statistically adjusted by age, race/ethnicity and gender to ensure representativeness. SCRI reports this data at a 95% confidence level with a margin of error of +/- 4.2 points including the design effects resulting from weighting. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS. SCRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information, call Dr. Don Levy, Director Siena College Research Institute, at 518-783-2901. For survey cross-tabs: www.Siena.edu/SCRI/research.