Inflation will force many New Jerseyans to make tough Christmas buying decisions this year, according to a Stockton University poll released Monday.
“Inflation has grasped consumers with Grinch-like tenacity,” said Stockton University Willian J.
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Hughes Center director John Froonjian. “It makes holiday shopping harder, but individuals will spend less on daily expenses to keep the spirit of giving.”
According to the study, 39% of New Jersey respondents said inflation was affecting their holiday spending a lot, 27% said it was somewhat, and one in three indicated they would spend less than last year.
The poll found 46% spending the same and 13% more.
The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University polled 570 New Jersey individuals between Oct. 26 and Nov. 15.
42% said their finances were worse than a year ago, 41% said they were the same, and 15% said they were better.
How are individuals handling increased costs? Almost half, 47%, indicated they are spending less on regular expenses to save more money for holiday shopping.
The poll found 51% had not had to cut holiday expenditures.
The economy is worst for 30-49-year-old parents. About three-quarters, 76%, indicated inflation is influencing their spending plans, including 45% who are very impacted.
Sixty percent indicated they have cut back on living expenses to be able to afford holiday-related charges, according to the poll.
According to the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics’ annual study released Friday, 166.3 million consumers plan to shop from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday this year, despite Garden State residents’ promises to cut back.
Nearly 8 million more than last year. according to an NRF statement.
“While there is much speculation about inflation’s impact on consumer behavior, our research tells us that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend will see healthy store traffic with a record number of customers taking advantage of value pricing,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.
“We are optimistic that retail sales will remain robust in the weeks ahead, and merchants are ready to meet consumers however they want to buy with outstanding products at prices they like.”
According to NRF’s latest survey, 69% of holiday buyers will purchase throughout Thanksgiving weekend. Shoppers expect to shop over the holiday weekend for three main reasons: discounts (59%), tradition (27%), and something to do (22%).
The Stockton University poll also found that only 27% of respondents plan to travel over the holidays, while 68% do not.
According to the research, 14% of respondents had to change or cancel their vacation plans, and 42% stated cost influenced their holiday travel decisions.
The poll found that 20% were influenced by airline interruptions and aircraft cancellations, and 22% by COVID-19.
11% will not shop, 53% will shop online utilizing apps or retailer websites, and 30% will shop in person.
Some are frustrated with pandemic-era shopping. Hughes Center Research Associate Alyssa Maurice stated that one in five shoppers had their goods out of stock and one in three had shipping delays.
21% started shopping in October or earlier, and 22% started this month. Thirty percent are waiting until Thanksgiving or early December to get started, and 6% are waiting until late December to start their shopping.
One silver lining for those remaining behind for the holidays is that majorities say there is much to do in New Jersey that is affordable and family-friendly.
When asked about local recreational options for their families during the holidays, 57% agreed there are adequate free recreational options, 61% said they are satisfied with affordable options for recreation, and 65% said there are adequate family-friendly activities available where they live.
The research indicated that one in three have skipped recreational activities due to cost.
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