Most Americans who plan on shopping for holiday gifts this year (67%) say they’ll do the majority of that shopping online, according to NerdWallet’s 2020 Holiday Shopping Report. That’s up from 62% last year.
And while the anticipated average spending of those shoppers is comparable to last year, there is a significant increase in the share of those not planning on buying gifts at all. In fact, 22 million fewer Americans plan on shopping for gifts this holiday season when compared to last year, according to analysis of the NerdWallet survey figures. Fewer intend to buy gifts this year than any of the previous seven years NerdWallet has asked about holiday shopping plans.
This drop in shopping interest could be due to continued high unemployment and economic insecurity among some swaths of the population. And the stable year-over-year anticipated average spend among those who do plan to shop could indicate a sense of security and optimism for groups less affected by the pandemic’s economic upheaval.
Tips for this year's unique shopping season
For those who plan to shop, here are some tips specific to the unusual nature of 2020.
Order early, and skip the middleman (you). More than ever, getting gifts to your loved ones on time will mean ordering early. Retailers may be experiencing supply chain issues due to the pandemic, and the mail may be running behind too. So plan ahead, and if you typically have gifts sent to you first for wrapping, consider skipping that step as the holidays get closer.
Holiday sales are coming earlier this year. If you’re watching them from the beginning, you’re more likely to catch the things on your list and avoid paying full price. Plus, those packages should get delivered in time.
Consider trimming the gift budget. If you think money might be tight for your friends and family — or if it is for you — take the initiative to suggest a lower spending limit. It could bring welcome relief to the folks you’re planning to exchange gifts with.
Donate to charities in your recipient’s name. If you know the person you’re shopping for has a favorite charity — and this year has provided us with the opportunity to support many — donating makes gift-giving easy and can reduce your taxable income too. For tax year 2020, you can deduct up to $300 of cash donations “above the line,” or without having to itemize your deductions.
This article originally appeared as Online Shopping Already Hit Holiday-Level Peaks This Year on NerdWallet.