AP-NORC Poll: Americans say holiday gifts harder to afford

More than half of adults in the United States say the holiday gifts they want to give this year are hard to afford.

Sixty-nine percent of them said they’ve seen holiday gift prices rise in recent months, up from 58 percent last year, according to a new poll by the Associated Press-Center for Public Affairs Research.

And 57% say it was difficult to bear the things they wanted to give, a significant increase from 40% one year ago. The vast majority of those who find it difficult to buy gifts say they give less as a result.

Last year, Darlene Hoffman, 89, used some of her government stimulus money to buy KitchenAid food choppers—which cost about $40—for her six children. But this year, with gas, groceries and other essentials falling on her limited income, Hoffman is cutting back. She plans to buy trash cans for $10 each that can be attached to the back seat of a car.

“I have to watch p and q. But God has provided for all my needs and I’m not complaining,” said Hoffman, who will spend most of the season volunteering at food and clothing banks in her hometown of Greenville, Ohio.

Inflation in the US appears to be slowing. Consumer prices fell for the fifth consecutive month In November, the government said on Tuesday. But prices were still 7.1 percent higher than they were a year ago, an increase that was felt most acutely by low-income households.

About two-thirds of Americans in households making less than $50,000 a year say they had more difficulty providing gifts and food for holiday meals this year, according to the AP-NORC poll. About 6 in 10 households with incomes between $50,000 and $99,999 found it difficult to purchase gifts and food, along with half of higher-income families.

Roslyn Coble isn’t planning any holiday gift shopping this year. Coppel, 63, lives on monthly disability checks and has struggled with soaring prices for food and other essentials this year.

“I’m less interested in going out and trying to buy things,” said Koppel, of Oakboro, North Carolina. “I’m not very interested in it this year.”

Coble is looking forward to spending the holidays with the family. It expects a small increase in deficit payments in January.

“Next Christmas I will be able to do more,” she said.

The survey shows that nearly all Americans — 95% — have seen higher-than-normal prices for groceries in recent months, up from 85% last year, according to the poll. The US government estimates food prices It will rise 9.5% to 10.5% this year; Historically, they’ve only gone up 2% annually.

Eighty-three percent said they had experienced gas price inflation, about the same as last year. And 74% reported higher electricity bills, compared to 57% last year.

As a result, many buyers may be looking for discounts this year, and retailers are likely to respond. The average discount rate across all online categories was 31% on Thanksgiving, up from 27% last year, according to Salesforce.

Tierra Tucker, a 34-year-old daycare worker in Chicago, said she’s been shopping since Black Friday for her 13-year-old twin daughters and has found deals on many of the gifts they get, including iPads, wallets, clothes and baby sets. Making the bracelet.

Tucker hasn’t cut back on gifts for her daughters this year, but she won’t spend as much on others. Tucker recently moved out and said she should focus on getting things for her new home. So her seven nephews and nephews would get gift cards instead of toys.

Overall US holiday sales are expected to grow at a slower pace than last year. The National Retail Federation, the largest retail group, expects holiday sales to grow 6% to 8% this year, down from 13.5% in 2021.

Daniel Reyes, a postal worker from Midland, Texas, said he’s made more money than usual this year thanks to overtime. But he still thinks twice about what to buy in the face of sharp price increases and losses for his 401(k) plan.

“I give it a beat. If I need it, then I need it, so I’ll have it,” he said. “But some luxuries, like beer or wine, I probably wouldn’t buy because everything is more expensive.”

Reyes, 51, spent $1,200 last Christmas buying guns for his two adult children. But this year he already warned them not to expect high-end gifts.

“I’d rather spend $200 and buy the steak and all the ingredients,” said Reyes. “We’re going to make it more about the family than the material stuff.”


The survey was conducted among 1,124 adults December 1-5 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the US population. The sampling error margin for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.