2022 Holiday Spending Survey Shows Impact of Higher Prices on Gift-Giving & Holiday Celebrations

Last updated: September 22, 2022 | By Jessica Leone

Valpak® surveyed thousands of U.S. adults to determine their holiday shopping habits and behaviors. Survey findings show an overall decrease in spending as consumers struggle to balance rising inflation with holiday wish lists. Use this data to understand how shoppers approach holiday spending and to develop a better holiday marketing strategy.

Americans’ Holiday Shopping Plans

83% of respondents purchase at least some holiday gifts before November while 31% shop for the holiday season year-round. When it comes to in-store or online shopping, there was no clear preference. Averaging responses, holiday shoppers will purchase 49.7% of holiday gifts in-store and 50.3% online.

when consumers plan to shop for the holidays

More than half of Americans surveyed (56%) plan to save money by shopping on major spending holidays, down 23% vs. last year. The most popular holiday shopping day for consumer spending is Cyber Monday, followed closely by Black Friday.

major spending holidays

* Note: Respondents could choose multiple holiday shopping days

Holiday Shopping Behaviors

84% of respondents purchase gifts from stores they normally don’t shop at during the holiday season (at least sometimes).

“Just love getting money-saving offers. This drives all my spending.”

This was a common theme with 66% making gift-buying decisions based on finding the lowest price.

holiday gift-buying decisions

75% would also be motivated to try a new business (online or in-store shopping) by a coupon/offer.

motivations to try a new business

Most Popular Holiday Sales / Offers

The survey finds U.S. consumers want (even expect) free or discounted shipping offers when holiday shopping – and no, not just from Amazon and Walmart.

most popular holiday discounts and offers

When asked how they prefer to receive holiday sales coupons, nearly half of Americans surveyed (49%) chose by mail, followed by 41% via email.

Holiday Budgets – Americans Spending Less

“Our budget is tight again this year. We are still recovering financially from the pandemic.”

Inflation and other economic disruptions are driving consumer spending down. 39% of respondents plan to spend more than $500 on holiday gifts this year, vs. 65% last year (26% decrease).

holiday spending budgets

With a renewed focus on protecting personal finances, only 6% plan to spend more on holiday gifts this year vs. last year.

holiday spending this year versus last year

Most Popular Gifts This Holiday Season

Gift cards continue to dominate our most popular holiday gifts list – no shipping delays or supply chain issues to worry about with them! Newcomer subscription boxes made the list this year (4%), with 44% of respondents also indicating an interest in one or more subscription box / service.

most popular holiday gifts
holiday ribbon banner

Santa’s Little Helpers: Subscriptions

From streaming services and meal kits to grocery delivery and ride-sharing, subscription businesses have far surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Giants like Amazon Prime, Netflix and HelloFresh are now faced with fierce competition from the likes of Walmart+, Disney+, Blue Apron and even small businesses.

Most Popular Subscription Categories

most popular subscription categoriesU.S. consumers are interested in subscriptions and are willing to pay considerable money for them too. 48% of respondents indicated they would pay more than $50 for a subscription service per year, while 26% would pay the same for just one subscription box. But a holiday sale or bundle discount always helps.

“I would use more subscriptions if offered a yearly discount.”

“Bundling any subscriptions to lower the price per service would be great.”

Subscriptions as Holiday Gifts

Retail executives know subscription box retail sales and service sign-ups peak during the holiday season. It’s not just millennials buying / receiving subscriptions as holiday gifts either. Our survey respondents across age groups were similarly intrigued.
subscriptions as holiday gifts
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Holiday Dining Trends

With the stress and effort of holiday shopping (not to mention holiday travel), home-cooked meals become less of a priority. 45% of our respondents plan to eat out at least 3 times during this holiday season with 12% estimating it’ll probably be closer to 5 or more.

Holiday Delivery & Catering

21% are also considering getting at least one upcoming holiday meal delivered or catered. There’s a clear preference for ordering from local small businesses (69%) vs. national chains (27%) and catering companies (4%).

Outside of restaurants, they want holiday delivery and catering options from grocery stores (26%) and other types of businesses too.
holiday delivery and catering
holiday ribbon banner

Holiday Cleaning & Decorating

77% of our respondents get into the holiday spirit by decorating their homes for the holidays. While most are do-it-yourselfers, some have or would consider hiring professional help for holiday cleaning and decorating. Pre-holiday house cleaning (15%) is the most popular of these services.

holiday cleaning and decorating

Always aware of their holiday budgets, an overwhelming majority (91%) would pay no more than $250 for these types of services.

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Holiday Events: Fun for the Whole Family

From holiday markets to photos with Santa, there’s so much to do, see and experience during the holiday season. Our respondents enjoy getting out in the Winter Wonderland with 79% indicating they’ve attended one or more popular holiday events.

most popular holiday events

The family fun doesn’t necessarily have to be holiday-themed either. Our survey findings showed going to the movies (#1), bowling and visiting arts & crafts studios as other ways to get in some quality time during the holidays.

Holiday Entertaining and Hosting

61% of survey respondents have hosted a holiday party with the most popular location being from home.

Top 5 Holiday Party Locations

  1. Home
  2. Restaurant
  3. Office
  4. Event space
  5. Park or recreation center

When hosting holiday guests, they go BIG. 53% host more than 10 guests including family.

Who’s on the Holiday Guest List?

number of holiday guests

Everyone’s invited and their presence is gift enough. 59% of respondents make all the food for their parties and 20% cater at least sometimes. Another 20% want you to bring a dish – and it better be good too!

In total, 76% plan to spend $100 or more on holiday entertaining, with 29% planning holiday budgets of over $250.

holiday ribbon bannerHoliday Shopping at Small Businesses

While 79% of respondents indicated they usually purchase at least some of their holiday gifts at national chains, the pandemic resurgence for supporting small businesses remains strong. 63% said shopping local during the holiday season was important or very important, similar to last year’s results. That sentiment is not limited to holiday gifts either; it applies to dining out, ordering in and going out too.

importance of shopping localGet More Holiday Sales with Valpak

Knowing the shopping behaviors of your target audience, what motivates them to try a new business and which offers generate the best response is critical to your upcoming holiday advertising success. But there is more work to do to ensure your direct mail and digital marketing campaigns sleigh this holiday season.

From postcards to social media ads, your local Valpak marketing team can help determine which channels are the best fit for your business, the ideal reach and frequency for your ad campaign and more.