COLONIE — The majority of people, 61 percent, will spend about the same on Christmas and holiday gifts this year as they did in 2017, according to a recent poll by the Siena College Research Institute.
About half of all shoppers will spend less than $500, about 25 percent will spend between $500 and $1,000 and about the same will spend more than $1,000.
More than 75 percent say they will make donations of money, food or other gifts to charitable organizations that focus on the needy during the holiday season while 36 percent plan to volunteer for organizations that help people during the holidays.
“With a majority of New Yorkers saying that their finances are about the same as a year ago, it’s not surprising that most hope to keep holiday spending about the same. Still, with more than two-thirds at least somewhat excited about the holiday season and overall consumer sentiment up slightly from a year ago, spending may well exceed best-laid plans,” according to SCRI Director, Don Levy. “By two-to-one New Yorkers say that, as much as they can, they will buy practical gifts more than splurging on special items. While we won’t be wrapping up coal, it is more likely we’ll see needs, rather than wants, under the tree.”
More than 70 percent say they will do at least some of their shopping online. In a statistic sure to send shivers up the spine of brick and mortar retailers, nearly 20 percent of all state residents and 25 percent of younger residents as well as 28 percent of those earning at least $100,000 a year, will do at least 75 percent of their shopping online.
In other findings:
• Eighty-five percent of New Yorkers plan to celebrate Christmas.
• Fifteen percent of all New Yorkers, including 98 percent of Jews, will celebrate Hanukkah.
• Five percent of New Yorkers, including 22 percent of black residents, will celebrate Kwanzaa.
• Just 3 percent will celebrate Festivus.
• Nearly 70 percent will put up a Christmas tree this year, with 58 percent planning on using an artificial tree.
• Thirty-three percent of New Yorkers say they believe in Santa, with the highest among Catholics and Latinos.
• A small majority of New Yorkers, 55 percent, most often say “Merry Christmas” as a greeting during this time of year while just 35 percent say “Happy Holidays.”
“A large majority of New Yorkers say that there is ‘No War on Christmas.’” Levy said. “Still, a third of all state residents do believe that Christmas is under assault. But, with well over half saying that ‘Merry Christmas’ is their favorite seasonal greeting, a solid third proudly saying that Santa is real and 85 percent planing to celebrate Christmas, the holiday will be warmly enjoyed across New York in 2017.”
The SCRI survey was conducted Nov. 6 through Nov. 15 by random telephone calls to 804 New York adults.
— Jim Franco