A new Debt.com poll of 1,000 Americans shows impacts of the pandemic linger among our shopping habits. 

As prices rise and supplies deplete, more holiday shoppers have been heeding expert advice to knock shopping out earlier this year.

Nearly 4 in 10 respondents to Debt.com’s latest holiday shopping survey said they started early, “because news reports of fewer deals and shipping delays.” Roughly 15 percent even replied they started their holiday shopping during the summer months.

Last year, Debt.com conducted a similar poll to find Americans spent less last year than in the previous decade. The National Retail Federation – the largest retail trade association in the world – tracks holiday spending annually. Year after year, holiday spending ticks upward.

Two years in a row, Debt.com has shown Americans are spending less than the NRF’s research. However, both studies show most holiday shoppers started before November.

Debt.com’s president sees this as a silver lining to the pandemic and thinks it may help avoid going into debt for the holidays.

“When you shop early for the holidays, by default you spend less,” Silvestri says. “Hopefully, Americans see the savings in their bank accounts, and early holiday shopping becomes a national habit, much like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Call it Rapid Wednesday or Swift Thursday.”

More than half have already started shopping for the holidays



More than a third of people polled are shopping early due to shipping delays and possible price increases



The vast majority began shopping before Halloween



Half plan to spend less than $500, while the other half will spend $500 or more this year



Most respondents say they’d rather shop online for the holidays than hit the stores


Have you started shopping for the holiday season? Yes No
Percentage of respondents 52.02% 47.98%
Will you spend more or less this holiday shopping season than last year? Percentage of respondents
More 18.28%
The same 53.13%
Less 28.59%
Did you shop early because news reports of fewer deals and shipping delays? Percentage of respondents
Yes 36.67%
No 63.33%
Select below when you started shopping for the holidays Percentage of respondents
July 7.44%
August 7.01%
September 15.20%
October 69.5%
Just now .85%
Do you plan to make more purchases online or at brick-and-mortar retail stores? Percentage of respondents
Online 67.98%
At the store 32.02%
Approximately how much did you spend last year’s holiday season? Percentage of respondents
Less than $500 51.72%
$500-$1,000 30%
$1,000-$1,500 10.81%
More than $1,500 7.47%
How much will you spend this holiday season? Percentage of respondents
Less than $500 50.71%
$500-$1,000 31.52%
$1,000-$1,500 11.52%
More than $1,500 6.26%
Do you plan to spend more or less this holiday season compared to last due to the pandemic? More The same Less
Percentage of respondents 4.66% 32.95% 62.39%
Why will you spend less? Percentage of respondents
I lost my job due to the pandemic 11.12%
I feel less pressure to buy gifts because of virtual celebrations 22.61%
I lost part of my household income 29.54%
I don’t expect loved ones to spend much on me due to the pandemic 36.74%
Approximately how much money did you spend last year’s holiday season? Percentage of respondents
Less than $250 27.70%
$250 to $500 30.49%
$500 to $1,000 25.66%
$1,000 to $1,500 9.67%
More than $1,500 6.48%
How much do you plan to spend this holiday season? Percentage of respondents
Less than $500 73.34%
$500 to $1,000 18.13%
$1,000 to $1,500 6.07%
More than $1,500 2.46%
How do you plan on celebrating fall and winter holidays during the pandemic? Percentage of respondents
In-person 30.78%
Virtually 17.90%
A combination of both 51.32%
How will you do most of your shopping? Percentage of respondents
Online 34.01%
In-store 12.51%
Combination of online and in-store 47.83%
Not holiday shopping 5.64%

Methodology: Debt.com surveyed 1,000 people and asked seven questions related to their holiday spending. People responded from all 50 states and Washington, DC and were aged 18 and above. Responses were collected through SurveyMonkey. The survey was conducted from Oct. 22, 2021 to Nov. 5, 2021.