Almost 40% of Americans plan to spend less this holiday season as the Covid pandemic lingers

Shoppers maintain palms at the Willow Grove Park Mall in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, November 14, 2020.

Mark Makela | Reuters

Almost 40% of Americans plan to spend less on items this holiday season than they did final yr, the largest such share since 2013, in accordance to the CNBC All-America Economic Survey.

Just 11% plan to spend extra, as Americans proceed to deal with surging Covid-19 circumstances and widespread unemployment. The common American plans to spend simply $886, down 10% from their deliberate spending final yr, in accordance to the survey.

Of the 800 Americans surveyed, 29% stated they plan to spend less due to misplaced wages or earnings, 19% cited the coronavirus, and 17% cited the poor economic system. The ballot carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5%.

All earnings teams reported planning to spend less this yr in contrast with a yr in the past. And when it comes to precise {dollars} they plan to spend, the wealthiest Americans might be holding again the most.

“It does seem like those Americans earning over $100,000 are holding back a little bit more than they did in 2019,” said Jay Campbell, partner with Hart Research, which serves as the Democratic pollster.

Americans could be saving for a potential 2021 downturn. A third of respondents said they believe the economy will get worse in the next year, double the percentage from October. That’s despite the development and imminent deployment of a Covid vaccine. Outlook fell along party lines, though: Republicans have turned negative with the election of Vice President Joe Biden, while Democrats have turned positive.

Americans’ views on the current state of the economy remain about the same as last quarter with 34% characterizing it as “good” or “wonderful,” compared with 62% who call it “honest” or “poor.”

While Americans plan to spend less overall this holiday season, they plan to do a lot more spending online.

In a huge jump, 55% say they will do most of their shopping online, compared with 43% a year ago. It’s the biggest gain in the 14 years of the survey and follows a three-year plateau in that metric. It’s also the first time more than half of respondents favored online shopping. Big box stores and department stores are bearing the brunt of that shift, with both declining as top choices for shoppers.

Amazon remains the top destination for online shoppers by far, with a larger market share than all its competitors combined. But the survey shows competitors cutting into Amazon’s dominance in a year when online shopping is surging.

Amazon was rated the top destination of 37% of online shoppers, up just two points from last year. Specialty goods sites such as Etsy gained 5 points, and online shopping at Walmart and large field shops every gained 4 factors.

In a constructive signal for small companies, Americans registered the lowest stage of concern for truly visiting and buying at small shops, half the quantity of fear reported round visiting buying malls.


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