20 Incredible Christmas Spending Statistics [2023]: Average Cost Of American Holiday Spending

By Jack Flynn
Dec. 20, 2022

Research Summary: The holidays can be extremely chaotic, and that chaos can lead to a lot of spending. After all, most of us have had that moment where we realize, last minute, that we forgot to get gifts for some of our friends and family.

But how much do Americans spend during the holiday season?

To answer that and more, we’ve gathered the most essential and investing Christmas spending statistics. According to our extensive research:

  • Americans plan to spend an average of $932 each on holiday spending in 2022.

  • 60% of US Christmas shoppers prefer to shop online.

  • Total US gift spending is expected to reach $178 billion in 2022.

  • 40% of all Christmas sales occur between December 15-24 (only a week before Christmas).

  • Between 2006-2022, the amount of money Americans spend on holiday gifts has increased by 12.8%.

Year Average holiday spending per person
2006 $826
2007 $866
2008 $616
2009 $638
2010 $714
2011 $764
2012 $770
2013 $704
2014 $720
2015 $830
2016 $752
2017 $862
2018 $794
2019 $846
2020 $852
2021 $886
2022 $932

General Christmas Spending Statistics

Christmas shopping is truly huge in the US, and to illustrate that point further, here are some interesting general statistics about holiday spending:

  • Retail holiday sales reached a total of $886.7 billion in 2021.

    Retail holiday sales have been growing, especially since the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic. Between 2020-2021 alone, retail holiday sales in the US increased by 14.1%.

  • Holiday shopping accounts for 30% of all retail sales.

    Nearly a third of all retail sales in the US occur in just over a month, which explains why stores go so crazy with advertising.

  • Consumers in Lebanon spend the most on holiday gifts behind the US, at an average of $891 per person.

    Americans spend the most on Christmas gifts, but other countries among the top five spenders include: Lebanon ($891), France ($856), Canada ($776), and Australia ($458).

  • The average American spent $514 on gifts for family members in 2021.

    That’s approximately 58% of the average total amount spent on gifts in 2021, meaning that Americans spend the majority of their holiday budget on family members.

Christmas Spending by Category

Since Americans spend so much during the holidays, it’s worth knowing what exactly they’re spending money on. Here are some insights our research uncovered:

  • Presents make up 65% of Christmas spending.

    As much as we all like Christmas trees, lights, and food, the majority of our budgets go toward those presents.

  • 20.98 million real Christmas trees were purchased in 2021.

    An average of 20-30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the US each year, and believe it or not, one in five Americans is willing to spend over $200 on their tree.

  • Gift cards and vouchers make up 20% of holiday spending.

    The perfect gift for anyone who doesn’t know what to get, gift cards make up around 1/5th of all gift spending in the US.

Christmas Shopper Statistics

No two Christmas shoppers are alike, and this is true statistically as well. Anything from region to income can impact the way people shop, as seen by these facts:

  • 81% of in-store shoppers will research products online before shopping.

    Further, 87% of all product searches in the US beginning online, regardless of whether they’re in-store or not. That means less than a quarter of Americans are heading out to the store for product research.

  • 42% of Americans think Christmas spending will leave them in debt.

    Overall, one in three Americans said they spent more than they could afford in 2021, with the average indebted Christmas shopper owing $1,249 on average.

  • Men spend an average of 10% more than women on holiday purchases.

    In general, men spend approximately $94 more on the average holiday purchase than women do, despite the fact that 68% of women are primarily responsible for holiday shopping in the US.

  • Millennials are planning to spend the most on gifts in 2022, at $855.

    That’s more than 53% more than the generation planning to spend the least, Gen Z, who plan to spend no more than $558 on gifts.

    Generation Planned holiday gift spending
    Gen Z $558
    Millennials $855
    Gen X $832
    Baby Boomers $769

Christmas Spending Over Time

As inflation and other cost factors have changed, so too has Christmas spending over time. In fact, Christmas spending is greatly impacted by recessions, inflation, and more. Consider the following:

  • Average Christmas gift spending is expected to increase by 5.2% between 2021-2022.

    Factors like inflation have contributed to Americans being projected to spend over $900 on average on Christmas gifts for the first time ever.

  • Between 2012 and 2021, total holiday sales increased by 56.2%.

    In 2012, total sales reached $567.6 billion, a number which has grown to a whopping $886.7 billion in 2021.

    Year Total holiday sales in the US
    2012 $567.6B
    2013 $584.4B
    2014 $614.1B
    2015 $632.9B
    2016 $653.0B
    2017 $687.4B
    2018 $700.7B
    2019 $729.1B
    2020 $766.7B
    2021 $886.7
  • Americans plan to purchase nearly half the number of presents in 2022 compared to 2021.

    In 2021, the average American planned to purchase 16 presents in total, but many now cite inflation as their reason for only looking to purchase nine presents total in 2022.

Christmas Spending FAQ

  1. How much does the average person spend on Christmas gifts?

    The average person is expected to spend $932 on Christmas gifts in 2022. While Christmas spending does shift year-to-year, its also been steadily on the rise since well before 2006. Between 2012 and 2022 alone, the average per-person Christmas spending will see an increase of at least 21%.

    Christmas spending is intrinsically linked with the economy. For example, Christmas spending saw a massive dip to only $616 during the 2008 recession, and now, people are projected to spend more on Christmas due to accelerated inflation in the US.

  2. How much money is spent on Christmas each year?

    Americans spend at least $1,000 on Christmas per year. The majority of this budget, 65%, goes toward gifts. However, one in five Americans is also willing to spend at least $200 on a Christmas tree.

    Other common Christmas expenses include food, travel, decor, and more.

  3. How much does the average person spend on Christmas per child?

    The average person is expected to spend at least $330 on gifts per child in 2022. Over the past five years before 2022, this average stood between $200-$300. Likely due to inflation, 2022 is the first year over the past several where holiday spending per child is projected to surpass $300.

  4. What percentage of Christmas gifts are bought in the week before Christmas?

    40% of all Christmas gifts are bought only a week before Christmas. Buying last-minute gifts might be more common than you think, as between December 15-24, 62% of Americans are still buying Christmas gifts.

    No wonder so many people choose to get gift cards.

Conclusion

With inflation on the rise, Christmas spending is projected to reach an all-time high of $932 per person in 2022. Parents can expect to spend up to $330 per child, mostly online, as 60% of Americans now choose to purchase Christmas gifts online.

And it’s not all about Black Friday either, as 40% of all Christmas sales occur just a week before Christmas, and 62% of Americans are still shopping for gifts within that window.

All in all, Christmas is a spending bonanza in the US that accounts for 30% of all yearly retail sales. A spending spree that often comes with some last-minute impulse purchases.

References

  1. GOBankingRates – Here’s How Much Americans Spend on Christmas

  2. Statista – Roughly how much money do you think you personally will spend on Christmas gifts this year?

  3. NRF – NRF Says 2021 Holiday Sales Grew 14.1 Percent to Record $886.7 Billion

  4. MuchNeeded – Christmas Spending Statistics, Trends, and Fun Facts (US & UK)

  5. Exploding Topics – How Much Do Americans Spend On Christmas? (Latest Data)

  6. Fox 13 – Christmas shoppers plan to buy real trees despite higher costs

  7. Debt – Frugal Man: ‘Bah, Humbug!’ to Gift Cards at Christmas

  8. Saleslion – 81% of shoppers research their product online before purchasing

  9. CNBC – More Americans took on holiday debt this season, owing an average $1,249

  10. U.S.News – Nearly 42% Expect to Go Into Debt to Pay for the Holidays

  11. CBS News – The gender gap over who controls holiday spending

  12. Money – Inflation’s Impact on the Holiday Season: High Spending, Fewer Gifts

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Author

Jack Flynn

Jack Flynn is a writer for Zippia. In his professional career he’s written over 100 research papers, articles and blog posts. Some of his most popular published works include his writing about economic terms and research into job classifications. Jack received his BS from Hampshire College.

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