How Holiday Shopping & Spending Will Change in 2020

Most years, holiday shopping and festivities in November and December are accompanied by big sales and large crowds. But as the 2020 holidays approach and COVID-19 looms, many people have had to re-evaluate how much money they’ll spend—and where they’ll spend it.

Just how different will holiday shopping look in 2020? In a recent study, we found that, on average, Americans plan to spend $374 on holiday gifts for their friends and loved ones this year. More than half (54%) say they’ve had to lower their gift-buying budget by an average of 38%.

54%25 say they've lowered their holiday shopping budget

One in three say their budget hasn’t changed, and 14% are actually planning to increase their budget by an average of 42%. Of those who will be spending more than usual, 52% say they’re doing so in order to make this year’s holidays feel a little more special.

Of course, in a world where social distancing and masks are the new normal, the way Americans are shopping for gifts has changed, as well. An overwhelming majority (71%) say they’ve changed how they plan to shop, turning most often to the internet rather than visiting stores in-person. In fact, 95% plan to shop mostly or entirely online, a steep increase from the 76% who did so last year. Their reasoning? Most often, COVID-19-related health concerns (45%) and a fear of crowds (24%).

95%25 plan to shop for gifts mostly or entirely online

Of those who plan to shop mostly or entirely in-store, two in five said they’ll do so because they enjoy the in-store festivities and experience while 20% said they want to support brick-and-mortar businesses. Despite their enthusiasm and excitement, just 1 in 10 say they have no concerns when it comes to COVID-19.


Methodology: From November 9, 2020 to November 10, 2020, we surveyed 2,018 Americans to learn about how they plan to shop this holiday season. Survey respondents were an average of 38 years old; 55% were female and 45% were male.

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