Survey: Over Half of Consumers Plan to Spend Less on Holidays

According to Jungle Scout, economic pressures like inflation and interest rates are causing headaches for consumers.
three red pillars at a store that read "sale"
  • More than half of consumers plan to spend less than $500 on holiday shopping, according to a new survey by Jungle Scout. 
  • Over half of consumers said they were looking for discounts and sales when shopping this year.
  • The majority of in-store shoppers were headed to Walmart, while online shoppers planned to purchase on Amazon.

The majority of consumers plan to spend less than $500 on holiday-related expenses this season, according to data from the e-commerce services provider Jungle Scout. 

According to its fourth-quarter survey of more than 1,000 people, 67% of consumers in the U.S. said they’d spend under $500 this year, which is about 40% less than the average spent over the past decade. More than half (59%) of consumers surveyed said they’d spend less on gifts and 20% said they’d cut spending on holiday decorations. More than half of consumers surveyed (58%) said they were looking for discounts and deals when holiday shopping this year. 

Walmart was the most popular in-store retailer for holiday purchases among consumers surveyed, with 56% of respondents reporting they’d go there to purchase gifts. Target was in second place with 29% and Amazon Go was in third place with 17%. Amazon reigned supreme with online shoppers, selected by 67% of survey respondents. was in second place with 36% and Target came in third with 18% of respondents visiting its website for holiday gifts.

Consumers are looking to save amid economic pressures, including rising interest rates and inflation, which has cooled but is still impacting prices. While the Jungle Scout survey paints a troublesome picture for retailers, experts have said they expect spending would modestly increase this holiday season. The National Retail Federation (NRF) in November said it expected overall consumer spending to increase 6%-8% over 2021, with consumers spending an average of $832.84 on average on gifts, decorations and food — on part with the 10-year average. Online sales topped a record $9 billion on Black Friday, and the NRF said Thanksgiving weekend shopping was at a record high this year, Retail Leader previously reported.

While self-reported consumer spending was down in many categories during the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter, consumers in the Jungle Scout survey said their spending had increased in several categories, including exercise and fitness supplies, toys and games, and books, magazines and newspapers. 

According to the survey, 80% of consumers surveyed said they believed the U.S. was already in a recession or was headed toward a recession, compared to 76% of respondents in Jungle Scout’s survey in the previous quarter. Ninety-three percent of consumers surveyed said they’d felt the higher cost of products in day-to-day spending. Top categories where consumers noticed higher prices included grocery, electronics, cleaning supplies, clothing and products in the beauty/personal care sector. 

A little more than half of consumers polled said they felt their household income was unstable, 69% said they were worried about their finances and 83% of those surveyed said inflation had impacted their spending habits. The largest cuts consumers said they made were at restaurants and bars, where just over half of consumers (51%) said they’d made cuts. Just under half of the consumers surveyed (47%) said they had cut some fun or impulse buys, 44% said they had cut costs on in-person entertainment and the same amount had cut spending on clothing purchases, according to the survey.