Americans Plan to Shop ‘Til They Drop This Holiday Season

Yonkers, NY  (  Frugality must be time-consuming because although many Americans plan to cut back slightly on their holiday spending this year, they won’t be cutting back their time spent on shopping itself. On average, adults will spend, on average, 19 hours gift-hunting this holiday season – 27 percent more than last year, according to a new Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll. Meanwhile, twice as many consumers will be spending less money this season (33 percent) than more (15 percent), according to a previous poll by Consumer Reports.

The full results of the Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll are available at

The new Consumer Reports poll found that nine in ten (94 percent) Americans will shop in stores this holiday season, while only 55 percent plan to shop online. Of those who will make trips to stores, 29 percent, or 51.2 million people plan to go gift-shopping on Black Friday, up 3 percentage points from last year. Forty percent have already started to shop as of early November.

“With all the negative indicators for the 2011 winter holiday shopping season, like consumers’ worsening mood and increased belt-tightening – which our polls have borne out, it’s a bright spot that Americans actually plan spend more time shopping for gifts and presumably hunting for good deals,” said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert.

Shopping Deals

Fifty-six percent of adults believe that online and in-store deals will be equal this holiday season. However, half of these gift shoppers expect to find out about these deals through email, one in three (32 percent) through deal or coupon websites, one in five (21 percent) through Facebook, and one in six (18 percent) through smart phone or tablet apps.

Choosing the Right Gift

When it comes to choosing the right gifts, eight in ten (85 percent) consumers rely on advice from friends and family, 64 percent decide based on user reviews of products, about half rely on commercials and advertisements (54 percent) or expert reviews (53%), while one in three (33 percent) use advice from salespeople.

Electronics and gadgets figure to be popular holiday gifts this year, according to the Consumer Reports Poll. Seventeen percent of respondents plan to purchase an Apple iPad. The Leapfrog® LeapPad is on the shopping lists of 14 percent of adults, while one in ten (10 percent) plan to purchase the Apple iPhone 4S. Other items that were near the top of the list include: the Sesame Street Let’s Rock! Elmo, the Amazon Kindle Fire, a 3D television set, Fisher-Price’s Sing-A-Ma-Jigs, and an Internet-ready television. The only non-electronic item on our list is the Barbie Pink 3-Story Dream Townhouse.

How Americans Will Spend Their Holiday Time

All-in-all, Americans plan to spend an average of 48 hours on holiday-related activities this year, according to the Consumer Reports poll. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 19 hours shopping for gifts
  • 14 hours celebrating with friends or family
  • 9 hours traveling
  • 3 hours waiting in checkout lines
  • 3 hours wrapping gifts

Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll Methodology

The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a telephone survey of a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households. 1,013 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+ between November 4-7, 2011. The margin of error is +/- 3.1% points at a 95% confidence level. To allow for year-over-year trending, data was standardized for consistency.

Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications.   Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.


The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves.  We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®,® and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission. Consumer Reports will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports®.