One in Five NY’ers Plan to Spend $1,000 or More on Gifts this Season

holiday pic of branches and holly
  • Annual Statewide Poll of Holiday Spending Plans

  • One in Five NY’ers Plan to Spend $1,000 or More on Gifts this Season

  • 40% Will do at Least Half of Shopping Online

  • 68% Will Donate to Help Needy; 31% Plan to Volunteer

  • By 44-32% Say Fruitcake Awful, Would Never Eat It, Rather than a Delicious Treat

Press Release     Crosstabs

Loudonville, NY – Nineteen percent of New Yorkers plan to spend $1000 or more on gifts during this holiday season according to a new statewide survey of consumers released today by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI). Just over half of New Yorkers plan to hold their gift spending under $500, while 27 percent have budgeted between $500 and $1000 this holiday season. While half of New Yorkers say they will keep their spending unchanged this year, more than twice as many hope to cut spending as compared with those that say they will increase their spending this year.

Forty percent, up from 35 percent a year ago, say that they will do at least half of their holiday shopping online in 2018. Ten years ago only 7 percent of New Yorkers planned to do half or more of their shopping online. Sixty-eight percent, down from 76 percent a year ago, will be making donations of money, food or gifts to charitable organizations that focus on the needy during the holiday season and 31 percent, down from 36 percent, plan to volunteer for organizations that help people during the holidays.

Only a third of all New Yorkers, but nearly half of those 65 and older, say that fruitcake is a delicious treat that they love while 44 percent of all New Yorkers, and over half of those 35 to 64 years of age, say that fruitcake is awful and they would never eat it.

“Two-thirds are excited about the holiday and one in ten say that they never stop holiday shopping and another 12 percent started right after Halloween. Still half of New Yorkers say that their finances are about the same as a year ago and nearly a quarter tell us that their financial condition has worsened since last holiday season. It’s not surprising that many hope to keep holiday spending about the same. But with 15 percent planning to up the budget and 19 percent earmarking at least $1000, make room for plenty of presents under the tree,” according to SCRI Director, Don Levy.

‘Merry Christmas’ (49 percent) rather than ‘Happy Holidays’ (41 percent) remains the most popular greeting during this time of the year. Thirty-one percent of all New Yorkers say that they believe in Santa with St. Nicholas support highest among Catholics at 44 percent.

Seventy-two percent of all New Yorkers will put up a Christmas Tree for the holidays, but of those, 69 percent, up from 58 percent a year ago, plan to have an artificial rather than real tree. Atop that tree, 47 percent prefer a ‘Star’ while 32 percent place an ‘Angel’.

“Looking ahead to New Year’s Eve, nearly three quarters say that they stay up until midnight while only 17 percent admit that they don’t keep their eyes open to see the ball drop. Are we getting old? Only a quarter say that they are heading out to party, 15 percent say ‘maybe’ while 62 percent of all New Yorkers and nearly half of those 18 to 34 plan to ‘stay in’ and celebrate,” Levy said.

The SCRI survey of Holiday Spending Plans was conducted December 2-6, 2018 by random telephone calls to 500 New York adults via landline and cell phones and 406 responses drawn from a proprietary panel of New Yorkers. Telephone sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household. Telephone sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline and cell phone telephone numbers (both from ASDE Survey Sampler) from within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns. Data from the telephone and web samples were blended and 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 +/- 3.4 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: