Anticipated Holiday Spending Remains Consistent Compared to Last Year

New York, N.Y. – November 18 2014 ‘Tis the season to be shopping! With the holidays quickly approaching and Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other retail-centric extravaganzas on the horizon, many people are beginning to plan their shopping sprees. And on how many lists will toys appear this year? Just over half of all Americans (51%) plan to purchase toys as gifts this year, nearly consistent with last year’s intent (50%). Not surprisingly, parents of a child under the age of 18 are twice as likely to purchase toys as those without children under the age of 18 (82% vs. 41%, respectively).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,205 U.S. adults surveyed online between October 15 and 20, 2014.

Those with young children (age 9 or under) or tweens (ages 10-12) are more likely than those with teens (ages 13-17) to plan to purchase toys this holiday season (90% & 88% vs. 67%, respectively).

Spending compared to last year

Just 18% of Americans who will purchase toys intend to spend more than they did in the previous year. This number has decreased steadily over the past three years (23% in 2012, 20% in 2013, & 18% in 2014). While nearly half of all toy purchasers (48%) plan to spend the same amount on toys as they did last year, nearly one-third (31%) plan to spend less.

Looking specifically at parents who plan to purchase toys, one-quarter (25%) intend to spend more on toys compared to last year; however, one-third (33%) intend to spend less.

Toys to be purchased this year

So what can kids expect to unwrap this year? Many can anticipate the gift of the written word, with half of parents planning to purchase children’s books (50%). Games for consoles are a close second, with 47% planning to purchase, and 42% will pick up some arts and crafts supplies. Among the least popular toys parents plan to dole out are sports equipment and handheld electronic games, with only about one-quarter of parents purchasing these (24% & 25%, respectively).

Those without children under the age of 18 are more diverse in their purchase intentions; however, children’s books remain the most popular with 34% planning to purchase. Just 9% plan to purchase the big ticket item of game consoles, while parents are three times more likely to pick up this item (27%).

Where people are shopping for toys

Large discount stores remain the most popular supplier for toys, with 45% of shoppers planning to buy at these locations. However, their popularity has decreased slightly from 2013 (47%), with a cumulative 6 point drop since 2012 (51%). With 37% of purchasers planning to do their shopping online, this outlet continues to increase year over year, seeing a jump of 4 points since 2013 (33%) and a cumulative 10 point jump since 2012 (27%).

National toy store retail chains and local, privately owned specialty toy stores are likely to be the least popular toy merchants this holiday season, with just 11% and 4% of purchasers planning to utilize these outlets, respectively.

The other family members

And let’s not forget about family members of a different variety. Six-in-ten Americans (60%) are pet owners, with a large majority owning either a dog or a cat (65% & 53% of pet owners, respectively). Many pet owners don’t plan on forgetting their furry friends this holiday season. 37% of Americans, and over half of pet owners (52%), are planning to purchase toys, treats or other products as gifts for a pet this year. Interestingly, 13% of those who do not have a pet still plan to purchase toys for one this season.

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TABLE 1

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)

Yes

No

9 or under

Tweens/10-12

Teens/13-17

%

%

%

%

%

%

WILL PURCHASE (NET)

51

82

41

90

88

67

Definitely will purchase

23

48

15

59

48

35

Probably will purchase

28

35

26

31

40

33

WILL NOT PURCHASE (NET)

43

13

52

8

11

25

Probably will not purchase

21

9

24

6

9

17

Definitely will not purchase

22

4

28

3

2

9

Not sure

6

4

7

2

1

7

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

 

TABLE 2

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

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

WILL PURCHASE (NET)

47

54

53

51

52

50

51

Definitely will purchase

19

26

24

26

23

25

23

Probably will purchase

28

28

29

26

29

26

28

WILL NOT PURCHASE (NET)

41

36

40

40

42

42

43

Probably will not purchase

22

18

19

20

22

20

21

Definitely will not purchase

19

18

21

20

21

21

22

Not sure

12

10

7

9

6

8

6

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

 

TABLE 3

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

Yes

No

%

%

%

MORE THAN LAST YEAR (NET)

18

25

14

Much more than last year

5

7

3

Somewhat more than last year

14

17

11

No different than last year

48

42

51

LESS THAN LAST YEAR (NET)

31

33

31

Somewhat less than last year

23

24

23

Much less than last year

8

9

8

Did not purchase toys last year

3

1

4

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

 

TABLE 4

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

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

MORE THAN LAST YEAR (NET)

16

16

15

16

23

20

18

Much more than last year

2

4

5

3

5

6

5

Somewhat more than last year

13

12

11

13

18

14

14

No different than last year

36

41

44

46

43

44

48

LESS THAN LAST YEAR (NET)

44

39

37

35

31

32

31

Somewhat less than last year

26

25

25

27

23

23

23

Much less than last year

18

14

12

9

8

10

8

Did not purchase toys last year

4

3

3

3

2

4

3

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

 

TABLE 5

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

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

Yes

No

%

%

%

%

Children’s books

41

40

50

34

Arts and crafts

31

32

42

25

Games for consoles

32

31

47

22

Building blocks and bricks

26

29

40

22

Dolls

27

28

40

21

Board games

27

26

38

18

Sports equipment

22

21

24

19

Handheld electronic games

19

17

25

11

Game consoles

16

16

27

9

Something else

32

33

35

33

Not sure

18

17

8

23

Note: Multiple Responses Allowed

 

TABLE 6

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

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

Yes

No

%

%

%

%

%

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

51

47

45

41

47

Online

27

33

37

40

36

National toy store retail chain

13

11

12

15

10

Local, privately owned specialty toy store

4

4

3

1

3

Other location

5

5

4

3

4

Note: Multiple Responses Allowed

 

TABLE 7

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

Total

Has Pets

Yes

No

%

%

%

WILL PURCHASE (NET)

37

52

13

Definitely will purchase

12

18

2

Probably will purchase

25

34

11

WILL NOT PURCHASE (NET)

56

39

80

Probably will not purchase

14

17

8

Definitely will not purchase

42

22

73

Not sure

7

8

6

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

 

TABLE 8

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

6

3-5 years old

7

6-9 years old

9

10-12 years old

7

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.

76

Note: Multiple Responses Allowed

 

TABLE 9

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 10

PET TYPE

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

Base: Has a Pet

Total

%

Dog

65

Cat

53

Fish

13

Bird

7

Reptile/Amphibian

4

Other

7

Note: Multiple Responses Allowed


Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between October 15 and 20, 2014 among 2,205 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® #103, November 18, 2014

By Allyssa Birth, Senior Research Analyst, The Harris Poll

About The Harris Poll®

Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. For more information, or to see other recent polls, visit the Harris Poll News Room.