Splender’s “The Truth About Holiday Shopping 2016” Survey Finds Shopping Is the Biggest Source of Holiday Stress, Other Insights

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A survey from cash back site Splender examines the state of consumers’ attitudes, behaviors, habits and preferences for this year’s holiday season.



Splender, a unique online cash back shopping site, today announced the results of its “The Truth About Holiday Shopping 2016” survey to find out what American adults (both millennials and non-millennials) really think about preparing for and enjoying the holiday season and buying and receiving gifts.

  • Shopping is the biggest source of holiday stress

Splender’s holiday survey revealed shopping (27 percent) to be the biggest source of stress among Americans during the holidays vs. working during the holidays (16 percent), cleaning/decorating (12 percent), traveling (10 percent), spending time with family (8 percent), and cooking (5 percent).

“The holidays can be stressful and that’s why online shopping is an attractive option for many people because you can shop where and when you want without having to deal with crowds and traffic,” said Erin Warren, smart shopping expert and senior vice president of marketing for Splender. “Sites like Splender, which return a percentage of every qualifying purchase to you in the form of cash back, can go a long way toward making holiday shopping an enjoyable experience.”

  • The hardest person to shop for is your significant other; he/she will most often disappoint you, too

Survey respondents said the hardest person to shop for is their significant other (33 percent). Men have the least clue about what to buy their significant other—42 percent of men said their significant other is hardest to shop for vs. 27 percent of women who said their significant other is hardest to shop for.

When asked, “Who most often disappoints you in their gift choice for you?,” respondents said their significant other (16 percent) twice as much as other people; in descending order of disappointment were father (8 percent), siblings (8 percent), mother (7 percent), friend (6 percent) and grandparents (6 percent).

  • Despite its social taboo, re-gifting is a fairly common practice; women re-gift more than men; wealthy women re-gift the most

More than 40 percent of people surveyed admit to re-gifting, the act of taking a gift that has been received and giving it to somebody else, oftentimes under the guise of a new gift. Among those 40 percent, women (47 percent) have re-gifted more than men (37 percent), and wealthy women (60 percent) have re-gifted the most among all women.

  • For spending per gift, one-third of Americans said they plan to spend up to $25; one-third said up to $50; ten percent said more than $200 per gift

About one-third (33 percent) of Americans surveyed said they are planning to spend under $25 per gift this year; about one-third (29 percent) said they are planning to spend between $26-50 per gift. Ten percent said they are planning to spend more than $200 per gift.

  • Pets make the “nice” list

According to the American Pet Products Association, nearly 80 million families in the U.S.—or 65 percent of American households—own a pet. In Splender’s survey, nearly 60 percent of respondents said they plan to buy their pet a holiday gift.

  • Clothes and shoes are the gifts no one wants to get; socks are the most dreaded gift to receive

Fifty percent of respondents said clothing/shoes are the most likely gift they would return vs. sports/recreational equipment (12 percent), jewelry/watches (11 percent), furniture/household items (10 percent), electronics/computers (6 percent), trip/experience (6 percent), and gift cards/cash (5 percent).

In an open-ended question, survey respondents were asked, “What is the worst holiday gift you have ever received?” Socks were overwhelmingly identified as a bad choice for a holiday gift. Other notable worst gifts included: a plunger, matching sweatshirts for siblings, a case of motor oil, a personality test, a stun gun, a 6-pack of glue, a 3-pack of toothpaste, pot holders, cat litter, a meat-scented candle, a broom, a do-it-yourself Brazilian waxing kit, and a jar of mayonnaise.

  • Except for the use of social media, millennials aren’t that different

Much has been made in the media about the unique socially-conscious shopping habits of millennials, the demographic group born in the early 1980s through the early 2000s that has surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in the U.S. However, in Splender’s survey, both millennials and non-millennials ranked price and free shipping as the two most important factors when deciding to make a holiday gift purchase. Both groups also ranked a brand’s support for social issues as the least important factor when making a purchase.

The one exception—millennials are twice as likely to rely on social media for gift ideas. When asked, “Where do you find the best gift ideas?,” 15 percent of millennials said social media vs. 8 percent of non-millennials.

To view the survey results in an infographic, visit http://blog.splender.com/the-truth-about-holiday-shopping/.

Survey Methodology
The survey was conducted by Google Consumer Surveys and was based on online responses of 2,000 adult Americans (both millennials and non-millennials) in the United States. Responses were collected on Sept. 9-13, 2016.

About Splender
Splender is a unique online cash back shopping site paying members monthly for online purchases at more than 875 leading retailers. Joining Splender is free, and members can shop for the latest fashion and beauty trends, household items, office supplies, travel, electronic, sports and recreation equipment and more – all while earning a percentage of every qualifying purchase made. In addition, Splender provides access to coupons, discounts and special deals. Splender is offered by Cartera Commerce, the largest provider of company-based online shopping loyalty programs for banks, airlines and other loyalty programs. To learn more or join Splender, visit http://www.splender.com or follow on Twitter @ShopSplender.

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Michael Tebo