Holiday Spending Mainly Isn't About Gifts

Socializing and entertaining eat up more dollars

October 24, 2017

Only one-third of holiday spending will be devoted to actual gifts this year, according to Deloitte's annual holiday report.

US internet users surveyed in September said they plan to spend $430 on gifts. Far more of their holiday dollars will go to entertaining, socializing and purchases for themselves.

Even gifts for others may not take the form of material goods. More than one-quarter (27%) of respondents said they prefer to buy gifts that are experiential, such as concert tickets, restaurant meals or vacations.

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Overall, the data aligns with an ongoing shift in consumer tastes, suggesting a growing preference for experiences over material things—a change that has made it hard for brick-and-mortar retailers to attract young shoppers.

The Deloitte survey highlighted the fact that traditional retail's woes aren't fundamentally economic. Some 79% of consumers said they plan to spend the same or more this holiday season compared with last year. And 37% said they consider their household financial situation to be better, vs. just 19% who said it was worse.