Science

Americans say holiday gifts are harder to afford this year, poll shows

More than half of American adults say it’s hard to afford the holiday gifts they want to give this year.

Sixty-nine percent of them say they’ve noticed higher prices for holiday gifts in recent months, up from 58% last year, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

And 57% say it has become harder to afford the things they want to give up, a dramatic increase from 40% a year ago. Of those who find it difficult to receive gifts, most say they have cut back on giving as a result.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans in households with incomes below $50,000 say they’ve had a harder time affording gifts and food for the holiday this year, according to the survey, with one in 10 of households earning between $50,000 and $99,999 6 people found it hard to afford gifts and meals, along with half of high-income households.

inflation rate

Last year, Darlene Huffman, 89, used some of her government stimulus money to buy KitchenAid food choppers for her six kids — which cost about $40 apiece. But this year, with the cost of gas, groceries and other basics eating into her limited income, Huffman is downsizing. She plans to buy them $10 each of trash cans that attach to the back seat of the car.

Huffman said, “I have to watch my P’s and Q’s. But God has provided for all my needs and I’m not complaining.”

The survey of 1,124 adults was conducted Dec. 1-5 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the US population.

US inflation appears to be cooling down; The government said on Tuesday that consumer prices declined for the fifth month in a row in November. but the prices were still 7.1% higher than a year agoThe increase was felt most acutely by low-income households.

Roslyn Coble isn’t planning on buying holiday gifts this year. Koble, 63, survives on monthly disability checks and has struggled with high prices for food and other necessities this year.

“I’m less interested in going out and trying to buy things,” said Koble, of Oakboro, North Carolina. “I’m not into it as much this year.”

Koble is looking forward to spending the holidays with the family. And she is expecting a small increase in her disability payments in January.

“Next Christmas I’ll be able to do more,” she said.

Nearly all Americans — 95% — have seen higher-than-usual prices for groceries in recent months, up from 85% last year, according to the survey. The US government estimates that food prices will increase by 9.5% to 10.5% this year; Historically, they have only grown by 2% a year.

Eighty-three percent said they experienced inflationary gas prices, about the same number as last year. Seventy-four percent reported high electricity bills, up from 57% last year.

As a result, many shoppers may look for discounts this year, and retailers are likely to respond. According to Salesforce, the average discount rate across all categories online was 31% on Thanksgiving, up from 27% last year.

hunting for discounts

Tierra Tucker, a 34-year-old day care worker in Chicago, said she’s been shopping for her 13-year-old twin daughters since Black Friday and found a variety of gifts, including iPads, purses, clothes and bracelet-making kits.

Tucker hasn’t cut down on gifts for her daughters this year, but she won’t be splurging on others. Tucker recently moved and says she has had to focus on getting things done for her new home. So her seven nieces and nephews will get gift cards instead of toys.

Overall US holiday sales are expected to grow at a slower pace than last year. The National Retail Federation, the largest retail trade group, expects holiday sales to rise 6% to 8% this year, up from 13.5% in 2021.

Daniel Reyes, a postal worker in Midland, Texas, said he made more money than usual this year, thanks to working overtime. But he’s still thinking twice about what to buy in the face of huge price hikes and losses in his 401(k) plan.

“I give it a beat. If I need it, I need it, so I’ll get it,” he said. “But some luxuries, like beer or wine, I probably wouldn’t buy because everything is more expensive.”


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Reyes, 51, spent $1,200 on the handgun last Christmas for his two adult children. But this year he has already warned them not to expect expensive gifts.

Reyes said, “I’d rather spend $200 and buy the steak and all the fixings.” “We’ll make it more about family than material goods.”

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