Consumers to Spend Nearly $900 to Celebrate the Winter Holidays

“The winter holidays are an important tradition to many American families, and shoppers are prioritizing their holiday purchases for the people most important to them."

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay

WASHINGTON – Those celebrating the winter holidays expect to spend $875 on average on gifts, decorations, food and other key seasonal items, according to the National Retail Federation’s latest consumer survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics. The amount is $42 more than consumers planned to spend in 2022 and is in line with the average holiday budget over the last five years.

“The winter holidays are an important tradition to many American families, and shoppers are prioritizing their holiday purchases for the people most important to them,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers have been preparing for months to ensure their inventories will meet demand, while at the same time helping consumers maximize their budgets with shopping events and discounts running throughout the extended holiday shopping season.”

Of the $875 consumers plan to spend, approximately $620 will be spent on gifts. Consumers are also budgeting another $255 for seasonal items like decorations, candy or food.

Nearly all U.S. adults (92%) say they plan to celebrate events such as Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa this year, on par with last year.

Similar to previous years, 43% of holiday shoppers say they generally start their holiday shopping before November. The top reasons people begin their shopping ahead of time are to spread out their budget (60%), avoid the stress of last-minute shopping (46%) and avoid crowds (45%). Regardless of how early consumers start, the majority (62%) expect they won’t finish until December.   

“However, early sales may sway consumers to shop even earlier,” Prosper Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said. “This year, seven in 10 holiday shoppers say they are considering taking advantage of October sales events to pick up holiday gifts, décor and other items on their list.”

Shopping destination trends continue with 58% of consumers planning to shop online this holiday season. That is followed by department stores (49%), discount stores (48%), and grocery stores and supermarkets (44%).

Gift cards continue to be the most popular gift, with 55% of holiday shoppers saying they would like to receive them this year, followed by clothing or accessories (49%), books, video games or other media (28%), and personal care or beauty items (25%). 

Almost one-quarter (23%) of holiday shoppers say they plan to give a gift of experience, in line with last year and up from 19% in 2021.

Even as consumers are budgeting more than last year for the holidays, they are looking for ways to make the most of their budget. When shopping for gifts, 62% say sales and promotions are even more important to them this year than last year. About one-third (36%) say they are cutting back in other areas to cover the cost of holiday items, 30% are purchasing gifts for fewer people and another 27% are buying less for themselves. 

The survey asked 8,103 adult consumers about their holiday shopping plans. It was conducted Oct. 2-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.1 percentage points.

As the leading authority and voice for the retail industry, NRF provides data on consumer behavior and spending for key periods such as holidays throughout the year.

About NRF
The National Retail Federation passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail succeed. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $3.9 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 52 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.

About Prosper Insights & Analytics
Prosper Insights & Analytics is a global leader in consumer intent data serving the financial services, marketing technology, and retail industries. We provide global authoritative market information on U.S. and China consumers via curated insights and analytics. By integrating a variety of data including economic, behavioral and attitudinal data, Prosper helps companies accurately predict consumers’ future behavior to help identify market behaviors, optimize marketing efforts, and improve the effectiveness of demand generation campaigns.