Holiday shoppers are seen in Herald Square in New York City on November 29, 2019. Gallup said this year, less than 60% of U.S. shoppers plan to spend the same amount during the holidays as they did last year. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Americans plan to spend significantly less on holiday shopping this year, mostly due to the coronavirus-caused economic recession, according to a new Gallup survey.
The poll showed that U.S. adults will spend an average of $805 on holiday gifts this year, a sharp decrease from the $942 they spent last year and the smallest average since 2016.
The range of spending has been as low as $695 in 2002 and reached a record high last year, before the COVID-19 outbreak accelerated in January.
"A strong tilt toward less spending, as is seen now, is typical of consumer intentions during recessions and slow economic times, but contrasts with the past three October polls, when Americans were about equally as likely to say they would spend more as spend less," Gallup wrote.
Gallup found that 59% of respondents said they will spend about the same as last year, the lowest share since 2012. Twenty-eight percent said they'll spend less, the most since 2012, and 12% will spend more.
"Holiday sales typically increase year-over-year, rising 3.3% on average since 2000," Gallup added.
Gallup said holiday sales since the turn of the century have underperformed twice, in 2008 and 2009 during the financial crisis.
"With the number of new COVID-19 cases rising, the fate of a second round of stimulus checks hanging in the balance in Congress, and the presidential election around the corner, the chances are high for a shift in consumers' spending intentions on discretionary items like holiday gifts," Gallup wrote.
Gallup polled more than 1,000 adults in every state and Washington, D.C., for the survey, which has a margin of error of 4 points.