AAII Readers Look to Hold Line on Spending This Holiday Season


This past weekend marked the official start of the holiday shopping season, with “Black Friday” attracting consumers to brick-and-mortar stores as well as online. According to Fortune, a survey released by the National Retail Federation on Sunday estimated that 108.5 million Americans shopped online over the long weekend, well above the 99.1 million who hit stores. Last year, the numbers were about even for both avenues of shopping. In addition, Adobe told Fortune on Sunday that e-commerce sales between Thanksgiving and Saturday rose 17.3% to top $7.2 billion.

Today is “Cyber Monday,” and a survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics estimates that some 122 million Americans will shop online today. That’s up only slightly from last year’s 121 million shoppers, but Cyber Monday has become less of a singular event in recent years as online deals now start earlier in November.

However, early numbers are not encouraging for retailers. The NRF/Prosper Insights & Analytics survey found that the average shopper spent $289.19, down from $299.60 last year, a 3.5% drop. NRF executives pointed to deflation in the electronics area, one of the biggest categories this weekend, and for heavy discounting. NRF Chief Executive Matt Shay said however, the level of discounting was planned, rather than panicked price slashing.

Weekly Survey Question

Now that the holiday shopping season is upon us, we asked our readers last week how they planned to spend their money this year. Specifically, we asked:

Do you plan on spending more or less this holiday season compared to last year?

Here are the results:


Our survey results seem to be in line with the NFR survey, with the majority of the 1,779 respondents–57%–saying they plan on spending about the same this holiday season as they did last year. In all, 28% of respondents said they plan on changing their spending only a little bit this holiday season–17% said they plan on spending a little bit less than last year while 11% said they plan on spending a bit more. Only 10% of voters expect to make significant changes to their holiday spending this year: 8% said they plan on spending much less than they did last year while 2% said they plan on spending much more than last year.

Special Question Summary

With this being the season for giving and receiving, we posed this special question to our readers last week:

If you could receive (or give) one thing this holiday season, anything at all, what would it be?

In all, there were 261 respondents, covering the most practical of things–new bowling balls and slippers–to world peace and cures for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Among all the responses, though, two themes emerged. First, was the gift of peace and love, at nearly 17%. Secondly was good health either for themselves or loved ones, at just under 16%.

Here is a sampling of the responses:

  • “An engraving machine, so that the veteran’s name could be engraved on the back of the flag holder placed next to the veteran’s memorial in our local cemeteries.”
  • “A financial planning course for a new investor. This gift would pay dividends for many years…”
  • “A large contribution to the USO.”
  • “A lump of coal for all those who did not vote.”
  • “Civil political discourse.”
  • “Happy wife, happy life.”
  • “I am happy with what I have :)”
  • “I wish that that I could give everyone that cannot afford a meal this thanksgiving and Christmas meals and presents to all.”
  • “I would like to give and receive a warm greeting and a big smile.”
  • “The Joy of giving monetary gifts to my children, and being thankful for having an organization such as AAII for making this possible. Thank You AAII.”

And in the best “gift as a sign of the times in which we live” category:

  • “Earplugs. Very secure, form-fitting earplugs. Oh, and blinders, too.”

Everybody has an opinion! Why not give us yours? Participate in our weekly member poll, updated every Monday, and see the results online at http://www.aaii.com/memberquestion.


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