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Holiday Savings & Spending Trends in 2022

Dec 6, 2022

Believe it or not, this year's holiday season will be unlike any other. Current economic conditions have seen a tremendous level of change, and shoppers are adapting their behaviors this holiday season in response to inflation and a worsening economy. Are consumers ready? Read on for what we uncovered in a new study on Americans' and Philadelphians' holiday spending and saving habits.

Inflation is making an impact

The year's high inflation is taking a toll on holiday shoppers both nationally and in Philadelphia. 84% of Americans agree that inflation is impacting their holiday spending this year, with 39% saying inflation is having a significant impact. The results for Philadelphians were similar; 82% of residents say inflation is impacting their holiday shopping – up 9% from last year's holiday season. This comes as no surprise as we've seen consumer prices rise by 8.5% since July of last year. 

Spending habits are changing

Due to inflation, 50% of American holiday shoppers are purchasing fewer gifts than they normally would or are lowering their holiday budget. Of those surveyed, 40% plan to take advantage of deals using discount codes, while 35% of respondents are shopping online rather than in person to save money on gas.

Philadelphians are similarly changing their spending behavior this holiday season, although a few differences exist. Most notably, Philly residents are more likely to take advantage of deals such as Prime Day than the average American holiday shopper (49% vs. 41%).

Purchasing behaviors are changing

Unsurprisingly, the most popular forms of payment this holiday season are debit cards (50% of Americans and 49% of Philadelphians), credit cards (49% of Americans of 54% of Philadelphians), and cash (48% of Americans and 45% of Philadelphians). This is in line with Philadelphians' payment preferences from 2021's holiday season (51% debit card, 53% credit card, and 45% cash).

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) options have also become more popular over the past year, and BNPL usage is up for Philadelphians in 2022. 10% of those surveyed resorted to BNPL options in 2021, whereas 15% are planning to do so this year.

Holiday spending is anxiety-inducing

Current economic conditions have had negative impacts on individuals' finances, which is taking a mental toll on holiday shoppers this season. 56% of Americans and Philadelphian residents are anxious thinking about the money they are going to spend this holiday season.

Notably, those with children in their household are more anxious about their spending this holiday season – 65% of Americans and 61% of Philadelphians with kids are anxious about holiday spending.

Personal finances leading into the holiday season

26% of Americans surveyed say they are struggling or really struggling with their current financial situation. US females are more likely to be struggling financially. 33% of females indicated they are struggling or really struggling, compared to 20% of males.

Similarly, 31% of Philadelphians surveyed are struggling financially in the lead up to the holidays, while 38% say they are either comfortable or very comfortable. In line with the national trend, females from Philly are less financially secure than their male counterparts. 33% of female residents would describe their current financial situation as very comfortable, compared to 42% of male residents.

Despite the less-than-ideal economic conditions this holiday season, 59% Americans and 54% of Philadelphians say they can afford what they are gifting. It may be the case that, while financial situations have worsened overall, many holiday shoppers have adapted their spending strategies and priorities to fit their budget.

While inflation is still persistent, be sure to check out our recent tips on how to help alleviate some of the financial stress and impact this holiday season, and stayed tuned for our next blog, where we'll share how Philadelphians can reset their finances in 2023.

This survey of 1,000 U.S. adults and 750 residents of the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington Metro Area was commissioned by PFCU from November 3–14, 2022. It was conducted by Opinium, a market research and insight agency.

Erin Ellis

Erin Ellis
Accredited Financial Counselor ®
Philadelphia Federal Credit Union
eellis@PFCU.COM
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