NEW YORK — Holiday spending among Americans ages 8-18 is estimated to total $5.1 billion this year, according to a just-released online survey of 1,177 youths, conducted Oct. 17-22 by Harris Interactive.
Youths making holiday purchases plan to buy 10 presents on average, and spend an average of $116. Not surprisingly, planned holiday spending grows significantly with age. The 16-to-18-year-old group is aiming to shell out $182, while those ages eight and nine are budgeting $52 for seasonal shopping.
Although giving and receiving gifts ranked a distant second to being together with family, among the priorities of those surveyed, 42 percent of the poll’s respondents said they would spend more this year on holiday purchases than in 2001. In light of those results, John Geraci, Harris Interactive’s vice president of youth research, said, “Young people place the commercialism surrounding the holidays in a healthy perspective. More than half — 51 percent — told us that being with their families was the most important part of the holidays, while just 17 percent said exchanging gifts was the most important.”
In addition, 81 percent of the youths polled said they don’t feel pressure to buy more gifts than they can afford. The most commonly expressed emotions regarding the holiday season were happiness, excitement, and thankfulness. Feelings of depression and frustration were uncommon.
“We uncovered very few negative emotions among the young,” Geraci stated. “It is only when young people approach adulthood that we sense any anxiety or pressure connected with the holiday season.”
Curiously, even youths feel the holiday season has been stretched too long. When asked the earliest date when retailers should break out holiday displays, their median response was Nov. 19th. Some retailers start decking their halls in October.