Holiday Spending Plans Up; 22% Plan to Spend More this Year; Highest in 15 Years

Press Release     Crosstabs    Holiday Trends

  • 73% NY’ers Excited About Holiday Season; 78Hopeful That ‘23 Will Be Better Than ‘22
  • Belief in Santa, 39%, Highest Ever; 78% Putting Up a Christmas Tree; Prefer Artificial over Real by 64-34%
  • By 52-34% Say ‘Merry Christmas’ over ‘Happy Holidays’ 

Loudonville, NY –  Twenty-two percent of New Yorkers plan to spend more money on holiday gifts this year than last year, up from 17 percent in 2021 according to a new statewide survey of consumers released today by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI). Seventy-three­­­ percent are either very (34%) or somewhat  (39%) excited about the holiday season up from 65% a year ago, the highest level of holiday excitement Siena has registered in 15 years of polling this question.

Up from 34 percent a year ago, 39 percent, now say that they believe in Santa Claus, the highest percentage recorded since Siena first asked New Yorkers about their belief in Santa in 2010.  Seventy-eight percent will be putting up a Christmas Tree. Of those, 64% will be decorating an artificial tree while 34% will have a real tree in their home this holiday season.  Asked to name their preferred holiday greeting, a majority, 52% say ‘Merry Christmas’ while 34% most often say ‘Happy Holidays.’  Seventy-eight percent of New Yorkers feel very (46%) or somewhat (32%) hopeful that 2023 will be a better year than 2022 has been. 

“New Yorkers are more excited about the holiday season than in any of the past 15 years, and they now believe in Santa more than in all the years Siena has asked about St. Nick, but more say that they are worse off financially now compared to last holiday season than those that say they are better off,” according to SCRI Director, Don Levy. “Still, nearly one in four plan to spend more on gifts this year than they did last year.”

Asked about their plans for holiday shopping, nearly one-fourth of New Yorkers plan on spending no more than $300 on gifts this holiday season, while 19 percent plan on spending $1,000 or more. Two-thirds of New Yorkers plan to shop in person at local independent retailers for their shopping this year and 65% plan to shop at small to medium-sized chain stores. Fifty-six percent will shop at big-box retailers, while 38% will buy gifts at local service businesses such as salons or gyms. Nearly half of New Yorkers, 47% say that they plan to conduct at least half to virtually all of their holiday shopping online and 61% say they have already or will shop earlier than usual this year. 

“With nearly half of all New Yorkers and over 70% of those earning $100k or more planning to spend more than $500 on gifts, it looks like stockings will be full this year,” Levy said. “Some are spending more because of how excited they are and how hopeful they are for a better year ahead, but some may simply recognize that inflation has hit Santa along with all New Yorkers.  Over half of residents with incomes under $50k plan to spend no more than $400 this holiday season.” 

Sixty-six percent plan to purchase gift cards as holiday gifts and over a third, 35%, plan to buy experience gifts like concert or sporting event tickets or spa gift certificates.

Asked which holiday traditions they are looking forward to or dreading this year, majorities of New Yorkers say they are looking forward to traditions including: spending time with family (73%), eating and eating some more (63%), cooking for the holidays (60%), decorating the house (57%), and going to holiday parties (51%). On the other hand, they are dreading the following tradititions: spending money on gifts (33%), eating fruit cake (32%), wrapping gifts (29%), and attending concerts, pageants, or ceremonies (24%). 

 “From all of us at the Siena College Research Institute to you, Have a Happy Holidays,” Levy and the entire team said.

The Siena College Research Institute (SCRI) holiday survey was conducted November 14-16, 2022 by random telephone calls to 376 New York adults via landline and cell phones and 427 responses drawn from a proprietary online panel of New Yorkers. Respondent sampling via phone was initiated by asking for the youngest person in the household. The overall results has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting. Telephone sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline (from ASDE Survey Sampler) and cell phone (from Dynata) telephone numbers 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, gender and party to ensure representativeness. 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: