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Survey: Understanding the Financial Stress of the Holiday Season

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The holidays are fast approaching, and Covid-19 is reshaping the way people will celebrate this year. Many Americans are already feeling the seasonal stress, but they are also considering how their holiday spending may be impacted. This September, Marcus by Goldman Sachs conducted a survey of more than 1,500 Americans on the topic of holiday spending to learn more.

Here are a few key highlights from our findings: 

How Americans are feeling

  • Half of Americans (50%) feel that holiday gift-buying is the most financially stressful event throughout the year. 
  • More than half of Americans (56%) are most looking forward to spending time with family and friends this holiday season while 17% of Americans are not looking forward to this holiday season.

When and where Americans plan to spend

  • More than half of Americans (56%) plan to shop in-store for gifts this year.
  • 29% of Americans will start holiday shopping in November this year, followed by October (24%) and December (10%).
  • Almost half of Americans (49%) plan on sending gifts to family and friends that they won’t be seeing during the holidays.
  • Nearly half of Americans (47%) are likely to choose to receive no gifts this holiday season, in exchange for avoiding the financial expense and hassle of buying gifts for others this year.

How spending has been affected by Covid-19

  • More than a quarter of Americans (27%) think they will spend less on holiday gifts this year compared to last year.
  • Of those surveyed who think they’ll spend less on holiday gifts this year, more than half (54%) said it will be because they have less money to spend due to Covid-19.
  • Two-thirds of Americans (66%) think they will spend the same or more on holiday gifts this year compared to last year.
  • Of those surveyed who think they’ll spend more on holiday gifts this year, 44% said it will be because they are sending gifts to family and friends that they’re not seeing.
  • Of those surveyed who think they’ll spend more on holiday gifts this year, 36% said it will be because they saved more money due to Covid-19.

The Holiday Spending Survey was conducted by Marcus by Goldman Sachs in September 2020 among 1,500 Americans.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.