Personal Finance

Holiday Shopping Survey Suggests Bigger Budgets, Selfless Spending and Mobile Shopping Among Parents this Holiday Season

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LendingTree recently conducted its 2017 Holiday Shopping Survey among 1,050 Americans aged 25 to 55 with at least one child. The results show that people generally expect to give more than they receive, and although only 55 percent of respondents have a set budget this holiday season, 76 percent plan to spend the same amount or more on holiday shopping compared to last year. The survey also revealed that men plan to spend more money on gifts for significant others versus women, parents spend slightly more money on gifts for younger children and most people plan to spend less than $100 on themselves.

Holiday Budgets

According to the survey, the average holiday shopping budget across all age groups was $943, although 45 percent of respondents say they don’t have a set budget for holiday shopping this year. Holiday budgets may be gaining popularity, since LendingTree’s 2016 holiday survey found that 56 percent of respondents planned to shop for the holidays without a pre-set budget.


Additionally, 29 percent say they plan to spend more on holiday shopping in 2017 than they did in the 2016 holiday season. This data suggests Americans may be feeling more financially secure this year versus 2016, where only 11 percent of respondents expected to spend more on holiday shopping than the previous year.

Interestingly, men estimate that they will spend significantly outspend women this holiday season, with an average overall budget of $2,191 for men compared to just $776 for women.

Season of Giving

The survey revealed that people are generally expecting to give more than they expect to receive during the holidays and have set relatively low expectations for receiving gifts. According the survey results, 23 percent of people don’t expect their spouse or significant other to spend anything on them during the holidays, when in reality, only 10 percent of respondents say they don’t plan to spend anything on their spouse or significant other. Lower expectations may translate to holiday gift surprises, with 51 percent expecting to spend $100 or more on their significant other, while only 43 percent expect their significant other to spend the same on them.

Men seem to be planning for more generous gift giving this year, with 65 percent expecting to spend at least $100 on their spouse/significant other, compared to only 49 percent of women who expect spend the same.

And what about splurging on a gift for yourself? Only 20 percent plan to spend $100 or more on themselves this season.

Family Gifting

Parents are setting a low bar for their children’s gift giving abilities in 2017, with 68 percent of parents expecting to receive no gifts from or on behalf of their kids. do not expect gifts from or on behalf of their children.

Of course, parents plan to give graciously to their children this holiday season, despite expecting little in return. Most parents (80 percent) plan to spend at least $100 per child this year while thirty-seven percent of parents plan to spend at least $250 per child. Although 62 percent of parents say they try to spend the same amount on each child, younger children have a slight advantage with 12 percent of parents admitting to spending more on younger children and only 6 percent of parents use a child’s behavior to dictate how much money is spent on their gifts.

And in case there were every any questions, most families (79 percent) receive wrapped presents from Santa instead of unwrapped gifts.

Payment Methods

A debit card is the primary form of payment for holiday shopping for 46 percent of respondents, as well as the primary form of payment for across all groups. Second to debit cards, 29 percent designated cash as their primary form of payment, and only 21 percent are primarily credit card users – although credit cards are considered more secure than cash or debit cards. A recent CompareCards by LendingTree survey found that 66 percent of Americans think debit cards are as safe or safer than credit cards for payments, when in fact debit cards don’t offer the same consumer protections as credit cards.

Online and Mobile Shopping

Holiday shoppers continue to shift to online and mobile shopping. Respondents expect to do 50 percent of their shopping online and 34 percent of their shopping on their mobile phone. Millennials (age 35 and under) expect to do 40 percent of their shopping on their phone, the largest of any other age group. A recent survey by the National Retail Federation found 59 percent of consumers plan to shop online this year, the first time in the NRF’s survey history that online is the most popular shopping destination.


The 2017 LendingTree Holiday Shopping Survey was conducted online within the United States by Qualtrics on behalf of LendingTree between November 9 and November 10, 2017 among a sample of 1,050 Americans aged 25 to 55 with at least one child.