Nearly 40% of American Shoppers Plan to Spend Less on Holiday Gifts This Year

Over 1 in 3 Americans Would Give Up Receiving Holiday Gifts in Exchange for a Raise or Promotion

Charlotte, N.C., November 18, 2020 — The 2020 holiday shopping season is sure to look a lot different this year, both in how we celebrate and what we spend on gifts. A new survey from NextAdvisor, a personal finance news site in partnership with TIME, found nearly four in 10 Americans (39%) plan to spend less over the holidays this year than they did in 2019, while just eight percent of Americans say they will spend more money this year.

‘COVID-Guilt’: Why Parents of Young Children Are Feeling Pressure to Overspend on Holidays

The survey also found that many Americans would skip receiving presents entirely this holiday season to improve their financial health. For example, 36% of Americans say they would forgo receiving gifts in exchange for a raise or promotion at work. Among those who currently have the following expenses, anywhere from nearly to more than half would choose to skip receiving gifts in favor of other financial obligations or goals:

● More than half (56%) would forgo receiving gifts for a mortgage or rent payment

● Nearly half (45%) would forgo receiving gifts for a student loan payment

● Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) would forgo receiving gifts to pay off credit card debt

“The holidays can be stressful, even without the added stress of a pandemic,” says Adam Auriemma, editor-in-chief of NextAdvisor. “Our survey found many Americans are feeling extra spending pressure and anxieties about debt, even while being less concerned with receiving gifts themselves.” 

42% of respondents plan to spend the same amount on the holidays as they did last year. As a result of holiday shopping, nearly a quarter (22%) of Americans expect to carry a credit card balance into 2021.

Parents in particular feel pressure to spend more for the holidays this year — perhaps to compensate for a holiday season that will look different than years past. Parents with kids under 18 are more likely to feel spending pressure (23%) than parents with adult children (10%) and non-parents (15%). Younger Americans (ages 18-34) are also more likely to feel extra pressure to spend this year than older cohorts, with 28% saying they feel the extra pressure, compared to just 10% of those 35 and older. 

Holiday travel will also look different this year as Americas navigate the ongoing global pandemic. More than 17% of all U.S. adults say their 2020 holiday travel plans had to be cancelled entirely due to the COVID-19 outbreak, nearly 13% postponed travel plans to a later date, and 8% have adjusted travel destinations. Among those who have holiday travel plans:

● One-third (33%) plan to spend the same amount as they did last year

● Nearly three in 10 (29%) plan to spend less than they did last year

● 14% plan to spend more than they did last year

Some good news: 53% of those whose travel plans were cancelled, or who plan to spend less on holiday travel, say they plan to save the extra money, while eight percent plan to donate the money to charity. Thirty-seven percent of those who had their holiday travel plans cancelled or plan to spend less on holiday travel said they will spend the money on basic necessities.


NextAdvisor commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct the survey. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,732 US adults (aged 18+). Fieldwork was undertaken October 26 – 28. The survey was carried out online and meets rigorous quality standards. It employed a non probability-based sample using both quotas upfront during collection and then a weighting scheme on the back end designed and proven to provide nationally representative results.

About NextAdvisor

NextAdvisor has partnered with TIME to help consumers secure their financial futures and achieve long-term financial success. NextAdvisor offers expert advice on time-tested strategies, fresh insight on changing market conditions, and analysis of the latest financial tools and resources. Offering relevant tools and product options to help support consumers in identifying next steps in their decision-making process across multiple categories including savings, deposits, loans, and mortgages. For more information, visit and @NextAdvisor. 

For More Information: Megan Wilburn | Public Relations Specialist |