Holiday Spending Statistics


With the latest holiday spending statistics revealing only slight drops in sales for the most popular shopping dates, nothing can stop consumers from spending cash on their favorite holidays, not even a global pandemic. These figures show that Americans are dedicated to purchasing gifts and celebrating important holidays regardless of the circumstances. About 38% of shoppers said they plan to spend less this year. Still, most households expect to spend nearly $1,400 during the winter holidays only. Do you know what the most profitable holidays are? Could you guess how much consumers spend on gifts every year? Scroll down to find out.

Holiday Spending Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • Americans spent $789.4 billion on winter holiday retail sales in 2020.
  • The average projected spending for the 2020 winter shopping season is $997.79 per household.
  • Super Saturday spending hit a record $34.4 billion in 2019.
  • 80% of Americans spend under $200 on New Year’s Eve.
  • Americans spend $935 million on Easter candy.
  • Thanksgiving online spending reached $5.1 billion in 2020.
  • Amazon Prime Day sales hit $9.91 billion worldwide.
  • The average Independence Day spending per person rose to $76.49 in 2020.

Winter Holidays Statistics on Spending

1. Winter holiday spending jumped by 8.3% in 2020.

In 2020, Americans spent $789.4 billion on winter holiday retail sales, up by 8.3% compared to 2019 and surpassing the National Retail Federation’s forecasts. Online and other non-store sales recorded a significant improvement of 23.9% to $209 billion, as people opted to shop at home amid the Covid-19 pandemic.


2. 38% of consumers plan to spend less during the 2020 holiday season.

Over one-third of consumers plan to limit their holiday spending in 2020, according to winter holiday spending statistics and projections. The last time so many people spent less during the holidays was during the financial crisis in 2008. Concern about the economy (50%) and focus on saving rather than spending (40%) are the two main reasons for the shift. The remaining 62% of shoppers, however, plan to spend more or the same as always.


3. American households expect to spend an average of $997.79 during the winter holiday sales.

This year’s holiday shopping predictions project the average household spending for the winter shopping season at $997.79. This figure is 4.77% lower than $1047.83 families spent on holiday retail sales during the same period last year.


4. The projected spending on retail categories for 2020 is $922 per household.

About $435 of that amount is expected to go to non-gift purchases like clothing and home furnishings. The average holiday spending on gifts and gift cards during the winter shopping seasons is projected at $487. Deloitte’s holiday shopping trends predict average expenditures of $205 on entertainment at home and $260 on socializing away from home.


5. 21% of total holiday spending in 2020 will go on clothing and accessories.

The latest Black Friday stats show that clothing is an especially popular pick on the day after Thanksgiving. Respective 19% and 14% of the winter holiday budget is expected to go on gift cards and food and beverage. Americans plan to spend 13% of their holiday budget on electronics and accessories alongside an additional 13% on toys and hobbies. According to Deloitte, other popular products would be those in the home and kitchen (8%) and health and wellness (7%) sections. As holiday shopping statistics and projections show, only 5% of Americans’ spending budget will go on pet toys and supplies.


6. The average holiday shopping spending largely depends on the type of shopper you are.

There are four basic types of shoppers, and their average spending is drastically different. Festive shoppers spend the highest average of $1,652 or by 19% more than the overall average. Conscious shoppers spend 10% more or about $1,530. Deal-seekers and efficient consumers spend less than the overall average. Their average spending is $1,268 (-9%) and $1,061 (-24%), as suggested by holiday spending statistics.


7. 64% of winter holiday budgets in 2020 will be spent online.

The average amount spent on online shopping during the winter holiday season is forecast at $892. In-store purchases are expected to result in average spending of $390 per person. Avoiding crowds is the main reason for this shift towards online shopping for 65% of consumers. Other commonly cited reasons include comfort (64%), free shipping (60%), 24-hour availability (58%), and ease of comparing prices (53%).


8. Nearly two-thirds of American households plan to start shopping before Thanksgiving.

Holiday statistics show that those who plan to shop before Thanksgiving spend an average of $1,537. This 61% of consumers spend more than the 39% of shoppers that begin their spending spree on or after Thanksgiving. Their average expenditure is $1,149. People who do holiday shopping in January spend $370 or much less than those who shop in late October. The latter’s average holiday expenditure is $1,602.


9. Nearly half of shoppers don’t plan to spend money on major shopping days and holidays.

About 47% of US consumers said they wouldn’t be shopping on any major shopping days. Holiday shopping statistics for US consumers reveal that Cyber Monday attracts the most attention. Namely, 29% of shoppers planned to go shopping on the day. Black Friday and Prime Day complete the list of top-three holiday shopping dates with 24% and 13%. Other popular shopping dates during the winter holiday season include Small Business Saturday (14%), Thanksgiving (8%), and Singles’ Day (3%).


10. In 2020, Americans spent about $650 on Christmas gifts.

Christmas spending statistics reveal that consumers spent about $650 on gifts in 2020. This amount includes gifts for friends, family, and coworkers. About $230 from the holiday shopping budget went on non-gift purchases like food and decorations. Americans also spent about $117 on other holiday purchases for themselves and their family.


11. 2019’s Super Saturday was the biggest retail sales day in American history.

Super Saturday is among the most profitable holidays in the US. The Saturday before Christmas is when people wait for last-minute deals and often make eleventh-hour purchases. One of the most interesting holiday shopping facts for 2019 is that Super Saturday surpassed Black Friday in retail sales. Super Saturday retail sales that year hit record-breaking $34.4 billion. Online shopping had a massive impact on this amount, with about 58% of the YoY sales growth coming from online shopping channels.


12. 80% of Americans spend under $200 on New Year’s Eve.

About $1.1 billion is spent on air travel, while about 6.4 million people pay an average of $165 for round-trip tickets. The average dinner cost for a couple in New York is $1,160, while the average dinner cost in Philadelphia is $402. Still, holiday spending statistics suggest that New Year’s Eve isn’t among the dates that generate the most sales.


13. Australians spent $74 million on last-minute shopping for New Year’s Eve in 2016.

New Year’s Day sales are huge Down Under. Australian consumers spent $11.5 million on dining, $10 million on food and groceries, and $11.9 million on retail purchases back in 2016. Entertainment and travel and transport are two other sectors that generate millions of Australian dollars. In 2016, New Year’s entertainment spending reached $7.7 million, while travel and transport generated an additional $6.2 million. Scooping a New Year sale often leads to cash withdrawals. Western Australians withdraw an average of $190 on December 31st or the highest national average. With an average New Year’s Day withdrawal of $139, Tasmanians withdraw the least cash.


Easter Spending Statistics  

14. Americans spend the most on food when Easter shopping.

The spending per capita on food was nearly $50 or $47.97 in 2019. Expenditure on clothing and gifts was much more modest at $27.29 and $24.01, respectively. Americans also spent lots of money on candy and flowers. The per capita spending on these products was $20.78 and $10.79. Other top purchases included decorations ($8.73), greeting cards ($6.52), and other items ($5.15).


15. US consumers were planning to spend an average of $179.70 on Easter in 2021.

The National Retail Federation publishes projected Easter retail trends every year. While the official 2020 stats still haven’t been posted, we analyzed Easter shopping trends in the NRF’s forecasts. Americans were expected to spend $52.50 on food (up from $51.76 in 2020) and $25.22 on candy (up from $23.30). Other planned expenses include gifts, with consumers planning to fork out $31.06 (up from $27.91 in 2020).


16. Easter generates the most candy sales compared to other holidays.

Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Easter are the top holidays associated with the candy shopping craze. Each year, there’s a war about what date will generate the most sales. In 2018, just like in most years, Easter candy sales topped the rest. Easter shopping statistics show that Americans spent $935 million on chocolate rabbits, marshmallows, and crème-filled eggs. Christmas candy sales lagged with sales of $776 million, while Valentine’s Day candy spending generated $524 million. Halloween came in fourth with its total candy sales of $383 million. So, if you’ve ever wondered which US holiday sees the highest candy sales, now you have the answer.


Halloween Spending Statistics

17. The total Halloween spending was $8.05 billion in 2020.

How big is the Halloween industry? It dropped to just under $9 billion in 2019, from $9 billion in 2018. 2017 meanwhile saw Americans spend $9.1 billion to celebrate the spookiest day of the year. The two other times the total spending on Halloween was over $8 billion were 2012 ($8 billion) and 2016 ($8.4 billion). In 2020, Halloween sales dropped by 8.52% to $8.05 billion. The main reason for this decrease lies in the COVID-19 pandemic and the millions of jobs lost because of it.


18. Americans spend the most money on Halloween costumes.

Out of the total, how much money is spent on Halloween costumes? We have the answer; in 2019, $3.2 billion was spent on costumes, according to the NRF Halloween insights. An additional $2.7 billion and $2.6 billion went on decorations and candy. Greeting cards meanwhile accounted for $390 million, as official Halloween spending stats show. The average per-person amount spent on greeting cards was $3.82. If we compare Halloween spending vs Christmas spending, Americans spent an average of $31 on cards and postage for Christmas 2019.


19. Nearly two-thirds of Americans celebrate Halloween and spend an average of over $92.12.

NRF’s Halloween data shows that in 2020, about 58% of Americans celebrated All Hallows’ Eve, while 42% skipped it. Among those celebrating, the average Halloween spending was $92.12. Ever since 2015, the average amount spent for Halloween has been over the $80 mark.


Thanksgiving Spending Trends

20. 39.6 million Americans plan to shop on Thanksgiving.

This figure makes Thanksgiving the second least popular shopping date during the holiday weekend, according to the NRF holiday season store statistics. Black Friday leads with 114.6 million potential customers, while Cyber Monday comes in next with 68.7 million. About 66.6 million shoppers plan to shop on Small Business Saturday, and 33.3 million on Sunday. 


21. Online Thanksgiving sales surpassed $5 billion for the first time in 2020.

Americans spent a total of $5.1 billion on their Thanksgiving spending spree in 2019. This is a record-high figure. In 2018 and 2017, the total Thanksgiving shopping spending reached $3.7 billion and $2.9 billion. The YoY growth in 2020 was a significant 21.5% from the $4.2 billion seen in 2019, as the Adobe Analytics Thanksgiving spending statistics reveal.


22. Search advertisers increased Thanksgiving advertising spending by 20% in 2018.

Since returns overpass the advertising spending, businesses aren’t afraid to invest in pre-holiday promotions. In 2018, search click prices jumped from $0.27 to $0.41 on Thanksgiving. A similar trend was noted in conversion rates, which increased from 4% to 5.6%. The average Thanksgiving spending on mobile search grew by an impressive 44%. Social media Thanksgiving advertising spending also rose, but the investment was equally remarkable. Namely, holiday spending stats show that the average CPM on Thanksgiving jumped from $6.09 to $8.58. The engagement rates meanwhile inched up from 2.7% to 2.9%.


Valentine’s Day Spending Data

23. About 52% of Americans planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day in 2021.

This marks a small drop compared to 55% in 2020. The average amount reserved for Valentine’s Day spending in 2021 was $164.76, down from $196.31 in the previous year right before the pandemic hit. Total expenditure on gifts in the United States was projected at $21.8 billion for the holiday. The NRF Valentine’s Day spending statistics show that less than one quarter (24%) were planning an evening out.


24. Valentine’s Day is a popular spending holiday in the UK.

British consumers were expected to spend £855 million on Valentine’s Day in 2020. Meaning, Valentine’s Day spending in the UK jumped by nearly 25% between 2017 and 2020. About £391 million were expected to go to dining out, and another £267 million to flowers. Spending on clothing and lingerie was projected to generate about £193 million, as Statista’s UK holiday shopping statistics reveal. 


25. Canadians spend billions of Canadian dollars on February 14th.

Valentine’s Day spending in Canada generates sales worth billions of Canadian dollars. In 2017, Canadians spent CA$4.1 billion on jewelry and watches and CA$5.1 billion on cosmetics and fragrances. The sales of women’s lingerie and men’s underwear totaled CA$2.1 billion and CA$934.7 million. Liquor stores sold wines worth CA$7.2 billion.

(Statistics Canada)

Other Significant Holiday Shopping Statistics

26. Worldwide Amazon Prime Day sales reached a record-high of $9.91 billion in 2020.

Nearly two-thirds of the sales were in the US. Americans spent about $6.17 billion on the shopping craze, while non-US consumers spent $3.74 billion, marking the best year since the Seattle-based giant first held the shopping holiday back in 2016. Between 2016 and 2019, the total sales worldwide were $1.50 billion, $2.47 billion, $4.13 billion, and $6.93 billion, according to Prime Day spending statistics. These figures show that this date can surpass some other traditional shopping holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.


27. About 83% of Americans were planning to spend an average of over $224 per person on Mother’s Day.

Americans were planning to spend about $16 more for Mother’s Day 2021, with jewelry and electronics seeing record levels. For comparison, the top three gifts for the date in 2020 were housewares, books or CDs, and electronics. According to Mother’s Day spending statistics, 72% were planning to get greeting cards, 49% would go for a special outing, and 68% were betting on flowers.


28. Father’s Day spending in the USA reached $20.1 billion in 2021.

In 2018, the total Father’s Day sales hit $15.3 billion, below the record-high $20.1 billion recorded in 2021. Between 2009 and 2019, the sector improved by a fantastic 70%. The average amount shoppers spent on celebrating the date was a record-high $138.97, as Father’s Day spending statistics reveal. Most sales on this day are special outings ($3.3 billion), gift cards ($2.3), and home improvement or gardening supplies ($927 million).


29. Back-to-class spending is expected to have generated total sales of $101.6 billion in 2020.

Back-to-class spending includes both back-to-school and back-to-college shoppers. The average amount spent per household on these dates, however, differs. Back-to-school shoppers spend an average of $789.49, while back-to-college shoppers spend $1,059.20. School supplies, clothing and accessories, and shoes are top purchases among households with kids going to school. According to back-to-class spending statistics, families with college students mostly buy school supplies, personal care products, and clothing.


30. In 2020, Americans spent an average of $76.49 for Independence Day.

This average is higher than the ones recorded in the past several years. In 2019, the average Independence Day spending per person was $73.33, while in 2018, it stood at $75.35. The total spending on food items for the holiday in 2020 totaled $6.52 billion. This segment has seen a downward trend over the years. In 2017, for example, Americans spent $7.15 billion on food, based on Independence Day shopping statistics.


31. St. Patrick’s Day spending in 2021 hit $5.14 billion.

The total spending for this holiday has significantly increased since 2016. In 2016, 2017, and 2018, Americans spent $4.44 billion, $5.27 billion, and $5.92 billion, respectively. Nearly 150 million American adults celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the US. The average amount they planned to spend on the holiday was $40.77 per person, according to St. Patrick’s Day spending statistics. Among those who celebrate, most spend money on food (50%), beverages (41%), and apparel (31%).


Holiday Spending FAQ

What holiday has the most money spent?

The average spending for the winter holidays is $1,387, making them the most profitable holidays in the US. These dates include Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, and Christmas shopping. 

Back-to-college has average expenditures of $1,059.20, and it’s another event that generates lots of sales. Americans spend an average of $789.49 on back-to-school, $205 on Mother’s Day, and under $200 on New Year’s Eve. Valentine’s Day ($196.31), Father’s Day ($138.97), and Independence Day ($76.49) are other popular holidays for spending money, as holiday shopping statistics indicate.

Is Valentine’s Day the #1 card giving holiday?

No, at about 151 million a year, Valentine’s Day is the second holiday that sells the most cards. Christmas is the most popular holiday for greeting cards. An impressive 1.6 billion cards are sold for Christmas every year. Mother’s Day (141 million), Father’s Day (93 million), and Easter (57 million) round up the list of top-five holidays for card sales.

What holiday sells the most chocolate?

Easter, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween are the holidays that generate the most candy sales. Easter candy sales statistics show that Americans spend $935 million on candy for the holiday. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween candy sales are about $776 million, $524 million, and $383 million, respectively.

What is the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal?

In 2020, the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 was $46.90, or $4.69 per person, with the turkey accounting for over 40% ($19.40). Americans paid about $1.21 per pound in 2020, and the retail prices for the bird were the lowest since 2010.

How much does the average person spend on Halloween?

According to the 2020 Halloween spending statistics, Americans spent a total of $8 billion on the holiday. The average Halloween spending meanwhile is projected at $86.27 per person for 2021, making Halloween one the cheapest holidays for Americans. 

How much candy do Americans buy for Halloween?

US consumers buy almost 600 million pounds of candy every Halloween. They purchase about 90 million pounds of chocolate candy during Halloween week. Still, Easter is the holiday that generates the most candy sales stateside. Americans spend $935 on Easter candy and only $383 million on Halloween candy.

The Takeaway

Consumers worldwide love spending money, especially during the holidays. Holiday spending statistics show that depending on the occasion, most money is spent on food, gifts, clothing, and decorations. The winter holiday season remains a leader in generating sales thanks to dates like Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Valentine’s Day, Back-to-Class celebrations, Mothers’ Day, and Father’s Day remain other top holidays during which Americans spend billions of dollars.

References: NRF, Deloitte, NRF, Pymnts, WalletHub, News, Statista, NRF, Statista, NRF, NRF, Adobe, Kenshoo, NRF, Statista, Statistics Canada, eMarketer, NRF, NRF, NRF, NRF, NRF

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