Americans to Spread Holiday Cheer by Spending More Money and Shopping on Mobile This Year

Americans to spend an average of $908 on holiday gifts, up from $839
in 2015

76% of consumers shopping on mobile devices, significantly up from
58% last season

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The holidays may still seem a distant way out, but Americans are already
crossing items off of their shopping lists. In fact, as of
end-of-September, one-third (33%) of consumers say they have already
started their holiday shopping, up significantly from 25% in 2015,
according to the American
Express Spending & Saving Tracker

When it comes to gifts, Americans expect to spend an average of $908, an
8% increase from last year ($839 in 2015), and among affluent consumers,
the expected gift spend increases to an average of $1,513.

Across the board, the most popular gifts to give this year are:

  • Gift cards (52% vs. 57% in 2015)
  • Clothing and accessories (51% vs. 47% in 2015)
  • Toys and games (50% vs. 44% in 2015)

“While consumers are spending more money on gifts this year, they are
becoming savvier with how they spend their time shopping,” said Kartik
Mani, Executive Vice President of Global Consumer Lending at American
Express. “With our constant connection to technology, more Americans
than ever before are using their mobile devices to help them make
holiday purchases.”

More than 3 in 4 Americans (76%) are turning to their mobile devices for
their holiday shopping, whether to browse, compare prices or view deals
(vs. 58% in 2015). There has also been a significant increase (62%) in
Americans planning to purchase and/or redeem e-gift cards on mobile
devices this year (26% vs. 16% in 2015).

One-Stop Holiday Shopping

While mobile will play a major role in holiday shopping this year,
virtually all consumers (94%) will turn to online, whether they’re
researching, comparing prices, looking for hard-to-find gifts, or
ultimately to make a purchase.

For the past four years, about 60% of consumers have preferred to make
their holiday gift purchases online. The “go to” place for online
holiday shopping are shopping networks, such as Amazon and eBay (65%),
followed by superstores, like Target and Walmart (48%), which give
consumers the convenience of “one-stop shopping” for everyone on their

Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday

Though many consumers are getting to their holiday shopping earlier and
earlier, Black Friday is still a major holiday for retailers and
consumers alike. Fifty-three percent (53%) of consumers plan to shop on
Black Friday this year, up significantly from 45% in 2015, and it is the
highest level of participation since 2010 (the first year polled as part
of this study). Not far behind, 50% of consumers have plans to shop on
Cyber Monday, up slightly from last year (47%).

Hosting for the Holidays and Managing Stress

Holiday spending goes far beyond shopping for gifts. In fact, Americans
expect to spend an average of $443 on holiday-related expenses this year
(up 7% from $414 in 2015), like hosting and attending holiday parties,
as well as decorating the home for the season. In particular, spending
on decorations has increased 58% from 2015 ($185 vs. $117), and costs
associated with attending a holiday party have increased 57% from 2015
($119 vs. $76).

Despite all the joy and warmth that the holiday season brings, it can be
a very busy and costly time for consumers. The amount of time consumers
are devoting to holiday prep is up 25% (58 hours vs. 47 hours in 2015),
which can include time spent at holiday parties, cooking, traveling to
see family, and most of all, shopping for gifts (17 hours). Not
surprisingly, seven out of ten consumers admit that they find the
holidays to be stressful, which can mainly be attributed to shopping,
budgeting, and entertaining.

About the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

The American
Express Spending & Saving Tracker 
research was completed
online among a random sample of 1,540 adults, including the general U.S.
population, an affluent demographic defined by a minimum annual
household income of $100,000. Interviewing was conducted by Ebiquity
from September 14-19, 2016. The results have an overall margin of error
of +/- 2.5 at the 95 percent level of confidence.

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with
access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build
business success. Learn more at
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About Ebiquity

Ebiquity is a leading independent marketing analytics specialist. They
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They work with over 80% of the world’s biggest advertisers and offer
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American Express
Jane DiLeo, 212-640-8055
Public Relations
Denise Peregos, 212-880-5374