What's more, many consumers plan to give experiences rather than physical gifts.

Although Halloween isn't yet in the rearview, holiday shopping is already well underway. A new survey conducted by OnePoll for Affirm reveals that one in five respondents started their holiday shopping in September and 61% of respondents say they don't plan to wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales this year. "Planning ahead of time can help consumers to better navigate and budget their holiday spending, especially as nearly half of respondents say that they plan to spend more this holiday season in order to make it memorable," says Silvija Martincevic, Chief Commercial Officer at Affirm.

The reason for the jumpstart is partially due to a surge in prices and consumers wanting to better budget their money, but it's also because many plan want to spend money on experiences rather than physical gifts this year. The survey polled 2,000 people to see how they're planning to spend this holiday season and 59% said they're eager to take a trip rather than spend time at home. Of the respondents, 54% say they plan to spend money on things like travel and hosting parties rather than buying physical presents. Of the people who plan to travel, 73% say they'll start making arrangements this month.

mother giving daughter christmas present
Credit: MesquitaFMS / Getty Images

Although respondents say they still plan to shop for things like electronics and clothing, it's clear that travel is going to be a huge trend this year. A new PWC study on consumer confidence found that 52% of Americans plan to travel and that many plan to do say by plane. There's only one problem, the cost. Forbes reported that the travel company Guesty suggests Christmas will be the most expensive holiday of 2021 and that its reservation volume across the United States is up 469% compared to 2020. According to Guesty's data the nightly rate for Christmas in 2021 is $599 per night, compared to $392 in 2020 and $322 in 2019.

The increase in prices and spending is a cause for concern, according to OnePoll's survey. More than half of Americans says they experience anxiety over holiday shopping, while another 52% say they feel pressure to overspend. For reference, the average respondent is planning to spend nearly $400 on their significant other and just over $300 for each immediate family member. To ease those anxieties, it seems shoppers are getting ahead and weighing their payment options. "In addition to getting a head start on their holiday shopping, we're encouraged to see consumers take advantage of flexible payment solutions to help them spend responsibly this year," Martincevic says.


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