Kids and Pets Can Both Expect Happy Holidays: More Americans Plan on Buying Toys and Gifts This Year

New York, N.Y. — Just as we finish packing up our Halloween costumes, it seems it’s already time to start gearing up for the next round of holidays.  And though children may be sad to see their trick-or-treating candy piles dwindling, they can rest assured that more goodies are on the horizon. Nearly six in ten Americans (58%) are planning to purchase toys as gifts this holiday season, a seven point jump from last year’s 51%.

Moreover, among those planning a toy purchase, three in ten (30%) say the total cost of those gifts will add up to more than last year (up twelve points from 2014).  Just over one-fourth (27%) say they’ll be spending less than last year, down a bit from 31% in 2014, while four in ten (40%) anticipate their spending will be “no different than last year” (vs. 48% in 2014).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,225 U.S. adults surveyed online between October 14 and 19, 2015.

Another group of family members should also be looking forward to getting something special this season.  More than four in ten Americans (43%, up six points from last year) – and six in ten pet owners (61%) –plan to buy presents for pets this holiday season. It is also worth noting that even among those without pets, 16% plan on buying a present for a pet. 

But who’s really doing the spending?

As one might expect, most (86%) parents with children under 18 living at home plan to buy toys as gifts this year, though it’s worth noting that 45% of those without minors at home plan to do so as well.  Meanwhile, the younger the children the more likely parents are to be showering them with gifts this season.  Parents of children 9 or under (92%) are the most likely to make toy purchases, as compared to those who are parents of tweens (ages 10-12, 84%) or full blown teenagers (ages 13-17, 77%).

Popular purchases

So what might these lucky children receive?  Children’s books (perhaps one by younger Americans’ favorite author) top the list of planned purchases (45%), followed by arts and crafts supplies (36%), dolls (34%) and console video games (32%).  Three in ten each will be bringing home board games (30%), and/or building blocks and bricks (30%).

Another quarter (25%) plan to present sports equipment as a present this year, while 21% are looking to give handheld electronic games (21%) and 16% plan on giving game consoles (16%).

Large discount stores win again

Where will all these gift-givers be shopping?  Nearly half (47%) plan to shop at large discount stores, while over a third say they’ll surf for gifts online (36%).  Less than one in ten each plan to buy presents at national toy store retail chains (9%) or local privately owned specialty stores (5%).


TABLE 1a

HOLIDAY TOY PURCHASING

By parental status and age of children

“Thinking now of this holiday season, are you planning on purchasing toys as gifts this year?”

Base: All adults

 

Total

Parent of a child under the age of 18 living at home

Age of Child(ren)

Gender

Yes

No

9 or under

Tweens/ 10-12

Teens/ 13-17

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

WILL PURCHASE (NET)

58

86

45

92

84

77

56

60

     Definitely will purchase

33

63

20

73

59

45

32

35

     Probably will purchase

24

23

25

18

25

32

24

25

WILL NOT PURCHASE (NET)

33

10

44

6

13

16

34

32

     Probably will not purchase

14

6

18

3

9

10

17

12

     Definitely will not purchase

19

4

26

3

4

6

17

20

Not sure

9

4

12

2

3

7

11

8

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 1b

HOLIDAY TOY PURCHASING – TREND

“Thinking now of this holiday season, are you planning on purchasing toys as gifts this year?”

Base: All adults

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

WILL PURCHASE (NET)

47

54

53

51

52

50

51

58

  Definitely will purchase

19

26

24

26

23

25

23

33

  Probably will purchase

28

28

29

26

29

26

28

24

WILL NOT PURCHASE (NET)

41

36

40

40

42

42

43

33

  Probably will not purchase

22

18

19

20

22

20

21

14

  Definitely will not purchase

19

18

21

20

21

21

22

19

Not sure

12

10

7

9

6

8

6

9

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

 

 


TABLE 2a

HOLIDAY TOY PURCHASING SPEND COMPARED TO LAST YEAR

by parental status and household income

“Compared to the amount you spent for toy purchases last year, will the toy purchases you make this year be…?”

Base: Will purchase toys

 

Total

Parent of a child under the age of 18 living at home

Gender

Yes

No

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

MORE THAN LAST YEAR (NET)

30

39

22

33

28

     Much more than last year

13

21

5

15

10

     Somewhat more than last year

18

18

18

17

18

No different than last year

40

36

44

38

43

LESS THAN LAST YEAR (NET)

27

24

29

26

27

     Somewhat less than last year

19

17

21

18

20

     Much less than last year

7

7

8

8

7

Did not purchase toys last year

3

1

5

4

2

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 2b

HOLIDAY TOY PURCHASING SPEND COMPARED TO LAST YEAR – TREND

“Compared to the amount you spent for toy purchases last year, will the toy purchases you make this year be…?”

Base: Will purchase toys

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

MORE THAN LAST YEAR (NET)

16

16

15

16

23

20

18

30

  Much more than last year

2

4

5

3

5

6

5

13

  Somewhat more than last year

13

12

11

13

18

14

14

18

No different than last year

36

41

44

46

43

44

48

40

LESS THAN LAST YEAR (NET)

44

39

37

35

31

32

31

27

  Somewhat less than last year

26

25

25

27

23

23

23

19

  Much less than last year

18

14

12

9

8

10

8

7

Did not purchase toys last year

4

3

3

3

2

4

3

3

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

 


TABLE 3

TYPES OF TOYS TO BE PURCHASED THIS YEAR

by parental status

“What types of toys will you purchase this year?”

Base: Will purchase toys

 

Total

2013

Total

2014

Total 2015

Parent of a child under the age of 18 living at home

Gender

Yes

No

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Children’s books

41

40

45

52

39

39

51

Arts and crafts

31

32

36

45

29

28

44

Dolls

27

28

34

44

25

29

39

Games for consoles

32

31

32

44

20

32

31

Board games

27

26

30

38

22

28

31

Building blocks and bricks

26

29

30

37

23

27

32

Sports equipment

22

21

25

36

15

32

19

Handheld electronic games

19

17

21

27

15

24

18

Game consoles

16

16

16

25

9

19

14

Something else

32

33

27

28

26

25

29

Not sure

18

17

15

6

22

13

16

Note: Multiple Responses Allowed

 

 

TABLE 4

WHERE TOYS WILL BE PURCHASED THIS YEAR

by parental status and gender 

“Where will you shop the most for toys?”

Base: Will purchase toys

 

Total

2012

Total

2013

Total

2014

Total 2015

Parent of a child under the age of 18 living at home

Gender

Yes

No

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Large discount store (such as Walmart or K-Mart)

51

47

45

47

51

43

45

49

Online

27

33

37

36

32

40

36

36

National toy store retail chain

13

11

12

9

8

10

10

8

Local, privately owned specialty toy store

4

4

3

5

7

2

5

4

Other location

5

5

4

4

3

5

4

4

Note: Multiple Responses Allowed

 

 

 

TABLE 5

PET TOY PURCHASING

by pet ownership status

“Still thinking of this holiday season, are you planning on purchasing toys, treats or other products as gifts for a pet this year?”

Base: All Adults

 

 

2014 Total

2015 Total

Has Pets

Gender

Yes

No

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

WILL PURCHASE (NET)

37

43

61

16

40

46

     Definitely will purchase

12

21

30

6

19

22

     Probably will purchase

25

22

31

9

21

24

WILL NOT PURCHASE (NET)

56

47

30

74

49

46

     Probably will not purchase

14

12

13

11

12

12

     Definitely will not purchase

42

35

17

64

37

34

Not sure

7

9

9

10

11

8

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

 

 

TABLE 6

PARENT STATUS

“Are you the parent/legal guardian of any child/children living at home with you who is/are…? Please select all that apply.”

Base: All Adults

 

Total

%

2 years old or younger

9

 

3-5 years old

9

 

6-9 years old

13

 

10-12 years old

8

 

13-17 years old

10

 

I am not the parent/legal guardian of any child under 18 years old who is living at home with me.

68

 

Note: Multiple Responses Allowed

 

 


TABLE 7

PET OWNERSHIP

“Do you currently have a pet?”

Base: All Adults

 

Total

%

Yes

60

 

No

40

 

Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

 

 

 

 

TABLE 8

PET TYPE

“What type or types of pet(s) do you have? Please select all that apply.”

Base: Has a Pet

 

Total

%

Dog

74

 

Cat

48

 

Fish

12

 

Bird

7

 

Reptile/Amphibian

4

 

Other

6

 

Note: Multiple Responses Allowed


Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between October 14 and 19, 2015 among 2,225 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

 

The Harris Poll® #69, November 10, 2015

By Hannah Pollack, Research Analyst, The Harris Poll