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Only $2,370: Wealthy Americans Plan To Spend Less On Holiday Gifts, Survey Says

According to a new survey, affluent U.S. citizens plan to spend less on holiday gifts this year.
According to a new survey, affluent U.S. citizens plan to spend less on holiday gifts this year.

Don't worry. It isn't December yet. But it is time to start looking forward to the holiday season, apparently.

On The Wealth Report, Robert Frank pores over an American Affluence Research Center survey. (Yes, there is an American Affluence Research Center.)

The organization "polled 439 people with net worths of $800,000 or more, which represents America's wealthiest 10 percent."

According to the survey, the group plans to spend an average of $2,370 this holiday season, down from $2,399 last year.

More than two thirds of the respondents plan to spend the same as they did in 2009. Only 3% said they plan to spend more. About 28% plan to spend less. And among those spending less, the average decline was 14.9% from 2009.

A surprising 12% of the group said they’re not buying any gifts this year.

That sounds like a lot of money to me.  And although I don't know anything about you, dear reader, I'd wager it probably sounds like a lot of money to you, too.

In the grand scheme of things, though, that's a lot less money than wealthy Americans usually spend on holiday gifts, Frank concludes.

...high-end retailers are unlikely to take much cheer in the finding, since so much of our consumer economy is now built on increased spending by the wealthy. The Affluence Center estimates that the top 10 percent now accounts for half of all consumer spending.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Gura
Based in New York, David Gura is a correspondent on NPR's business desk. His stories are broadcast on NPR's newsmagazines, All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and he regularly guest hosts 1A, a co-production of NPR and WAMU.