It may be a few months away but with the COVID-19 pandemic casting a shadow of uncertainty over traditional holiday gatherings and celebrations, many consumers in the U.S. are already using their wallets to get into the holiday spirit – for better or for worse.

Yes, the annual tradition of getting out to the stores or hit online shops has begun. If you haven’t started your shopping yet, keep reading you might be surprised to learn others already have done so.

And to gauge consumer sentiment about their holiday shopping plans this year, LendingTree surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in the U.S. in early October.

Key Findings

According to survey findings, 1 in 4 (25%) consumers have already finished their holiday shopping. That number rises to 44% of parents with kids under 18, and nearly half (49%) of those with household incomes of $100,000 or more, according to a LendingTree news release.

Those who are anticipating holiday shopping debt include 55% of parents and 47% of those who were laid off or furloughed due to the pandemic. Overall, 31% of consumers believe they will incur debt this holiday season.

About 6 in 10 (59%) parents will spend more this holiday season than last year, as will 52% of men. On the other hand, 50% of baby boomers and 47% of women expect to spend less this holiday season.

More than 1 in 5 (22%) consumers will buy all of their holiday gifts online. In contrast, just 11% will do all of their holiday shopping in a physical store.

Some Americans are ushering in the holiday season early this year, as 1 in 4 consumers have already completed shopping for everyone on their lists. Others, faced with financial challenges related to the coronavirus crisis, are turning to credit cards to help them create a sense of normalcy this holiday season. As a result, many consumers may start the new year digging out of debt, the news release added.

COVID’s Role

The COVID-19 pandemic might have played a role, suggested Matt Schulz, a chief credit analyst for LendingTree: “Because of the coronavirus relief bill, increased unemployment benefits and overall reduced spending during the last six months, many Americans have a little more money in their bank accounts today than they otherwise would. Some folks may have taken advantage of that surplus to do a little early holiday shopping,” Schulz said in the news release.

To view the full report, visit here.

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,034 consumers in the U.S., with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded Oct. 2-6, 2020.

Source: LendingTree