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Purdue Survey Indicates Most People Plan To Spend The Same Or More This Holiday Season

Andy Noren

Most people who responded to a Purdue University survey expect to spend about the same or more on everything that comes with the holiday season this year.

The online nationwide survey of 620 people was conducted by agricultural economics associate professor Nicole Widmar and Purdue doctoral student Elizabeth Byrd. It asked respondents to report their intended spending for the 2014 holiday season relative to last year. "Twenty-one percent of the participants indicated they would spend more on holiday meals this year, 20 percent said they would spend more on holiday gifts, and 12 percent planned to spend more on holiday travel," said Widmar. Across all three spending categories, about 60-65 percent of respondents indicated they would spend about the same amount as last year.

But with 21 percent intending to spend more on holiday meals and 15 percent expecting to spend less, the researchers said it was clear that food was "front of mind" for many of the respondents.

Only the holiday travel category had a larger percentage of respondents - 23 percent - expecting to spend less this year. "Perhaps colder weather will be keeping many home, or lower fuel prices will keep the expenses down," Widmar said.

The holiday shopping season got underway Thanksgiving Day, but Widmar says their survey found that many people will put off shopping, at least for a while. "This we found maybe a little different than what we expected. We found that 46-percent of respondents said they didn‘t plan to shop at all between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday," Widmar said.

The holiday season also is directly tied to another year-end "tradition" - that of gaining weight from eating so much food. Forty-two percent of respondents expected to eat more desserts, but, perhaps reflecting some denial, only 29 percent indicated they expected to gain weight this holiday season. The researchers had a logical explanation for that: "Perhaps many of us are counting on a little holiday magic this season?"

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