Wednesday, November 18, 2020

NY’ers Less Excited This Year But Say Holidays Cannot be Ruined by Virus

Fifty-nine percent of New Yorkers, down from 71 percent a year ago, are somewhat or very excited about the upcoming holiday season according to a new statewide survey of consumers released by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI).

While 16 percent say that they are more excited than last year, 41 percent are less excited. Sixty-eight percent say that the holidays will be different but that they cannot be ruined by the virus as the spirit of the season will triumph over the pandemic.

“Over a quarter of New Yorkers are coming into the holiday season saying that no matter how hard they try, the pandemic will take the joy out of the holidays,” according to SCRI Director, Don Levy. “But over two-thirds just won’t let the virus be the Grinch that steals the season this year.”

Holiday spending

Virtually unchanged from last year, 49 percent plan to spend under $500 on gifts during this holiday season. Nearly a third, 32 percent, up from 21 percent a year ago, plan to spend $1000 or more on holiday gifts. Only 10 percent plan to increase their spending this year while 38 percent are going to spend less and 48 percent plan to spend as they did last year. Thirty-eight percent will conduct at least three-quarters of their holiday spending online this year, double last year’s 19 percent.

“While most New Yorkers are planning to either spend less or hold the line on spending, one in ten are ready for a holiday spending spree as one-third are ready to spend $1000 or more, a figure we haven’t seen since 2007. Only 23 percent plan to shop locally on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday but nearly half will be shopping online on Cyber Monday this year. We’ve seen online spending grow dramatically since 2008 but today with 19 percent doing at least half of their shopping online and another 38 percent doing 75 percent or more, we’ve hit a new all time high,” Levy said.


Forty-one percent say that due to the virus, Thanksgiving will be very different this year, while an additional 23 percent say the holiday will be somewhat different. Forty-one percent will be gathering with friends or family that do not live with them but a majority, 52 percent, will not. Only 14 percent plan to travel to visit family or friends on Thanksgiving.

“For most, Thanksgiving looks to be different this year. Fewer than half are planning to have uncles, aunts and cousins over and only one in seven plans to travel to family meals on what has historically been one of the top travel days of the year. And as so many of us have gotten used to connecting at work or with friends via online platforms, 40 percent of New Yorkers will include a Zoom song, toast or laugh with those loved ones that are usually around the same table,” Levy said.

Some key takeaways
  • Half Plan to Hold Spending Under $500; One Third Will Spend over $1000;
  • Online Shopping Hits New High
  • Nearly 2/3rds Plan ‘Different’ Thanksgiving; Few Will Travel; 41% To Gather with Family & Friends; 40% Zooming on Turkey Day
  • Only 14% to Attend Holiday Parties; Most Comfortable with Gatherings of under 10
About the survey

The SCRI survey of Holiday Spending Plans was conducted November 4-10, 2020 by random telephone calls to 803 New York adults via
landline and cell phones. Telephone sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household. Telephone sampling was
conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline and cell phone telephone numbers (both from ASDE Survey
Sampler) from within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns and by education. Data from the telephone sample
was statistically adjusted by age, race/ethnicity, region and gender to ensure representativeness. SCRI reports this data at a 95%
confidence level with a margin of error of + 4.4 points including the design effects resulting from weighting. The Siena College Research
Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS. SCRI, an
independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional
Ethics and Practices. 

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

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