11/21/05 FOX Poll: Less Holiday Gift Spending Planned

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Americans plan to spend less on holiday gifts this year, and while "the mall" is still the primary place for most shopping, the latest FOX News poll finds more people plan to buy gifts over the Internet.

The gift-giving season is quickly approaching and most Americans say they plan to spend the same amount or less on holiday gifts this year compared to last. A sizable minority (38 percent) says their spending level will remain the same as last year, but a 45 percent plurality says they plan to spend less. About one in 10 (13 percent) say they plan to spend more.

Almost six in 10 (58 percent) of those in households with income below $50,000 plan to spend less this year, while four in 10 of those in higher income households ($50,000+) also plan to reduce spending.

Democrats are 20 percentage points more likely than Republicans to say they estimate less spending.

Overall, 43 percent say they expect to spend less than $500 on gifts this year, 20 percent estimate somewhere between $500-$1000 and 18 percent think they will purchase more than $1000 worth of holiday presents.

Married people (23 percent) are twice as likely as singles (11 percent) to say they will spend over $1000, and Republicans (26 percent) are twice as likely as Democrats (13 percent) to expect to do so.

Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News on November 8-9.

"If these numbers hold, it will be a rocky holiday season for many retailers," comments Opinion Dynamics Chairman John Gorman. "Even though gasoline prices have fallen, people are anticipating higher heating bills and are uncertain about the economy. This leads them to pull back and attempt to economize in areas such as gifts."

About one third of Americans (34 percent) say they will buy some of their gifts over the Internet, up from 29 percent in 2003 and 4 percent when the question was first asked in 1997.

Those most likely to use the Internet for shopping include people with a college degree (51 percent), those living in high-income households (50 percent), people under age 35 (47 percent) and those living in the Northeast (46 percent). Men (35 percent) and women (33 percent) are about equally likely to shop online.

Even with the increased popularity of online shopping, most Americans still say the place where they will do most of their buying is the shopping mall. Seven in 10 say they will do most of their shopping in stores or at the mall, 7 percent say over the Internet and 5 percent through mail order catalogs. Two percent volunteer that they will hand-make most of their gifts.

Hey, This Looks Familiar...

Of course, there are some people who will do their shopping around the house — in the drawer or closet — and "re-gift." More than one in 10 Americans (12 percent) say they are likely to re-gift an item they were given a previous year.

Send Those Thank You Notes Promptly

On January 8, the price of a first-class stamp will go up 2 cents to 39 cents. Half of Americans say they think 39 cents to send a first-class letter is a "good value" (34 percent) or even a "bargain" (16 percent), though a 42 percent plurality calls it is a "rip off."

• PDF: Click here for full poll results.