Most Americans in a new poll said inflation and high prices have resulted in cutbacks in their holiday shopping this year.
The survey from Monmouth University, published Thursday, found 55 percent of respondents said they are cutting back on their holiday shopping lists, an increase from last year, where 46 percent of people said they were cutting back, and 40 percent in 2021.
Pollsters found the trend is seen across all demographic groups, but especially among those making less than $50,000 a year. Two-thirds of this group reported holiday shopping cutbacks, a significant jump from 2022, when 48 percent said the same.
“The rate of inflation may be slowing but the damage has been done after a long stretch of rising prices," said Patrick Murray, the director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
Murray said multiple causes could be to blame for the increase in cutbacks, pointing to consumers who kept their usual buying habits coming out of the pandemic and are now seeing the spending catch up with them.
"Whatever the reason, there is greater pessimism on the holiday gift-giving front,” he added.
While the number of gifts may be changing, the majority of Americans are still planning on participating in holiday activities. About 76 percent said they planned to play Christmas music, while 65 percent said they will decorate their home and 69 percent said they will make Christmas candy, cookies and desserts.
A little under half, or 43 percent, said they will also volunteer for "charitable" activities during the holiday season.
The findings follow a recent Bankrate survey that showed nearly six in 10 Americanas feel the U.S. economy is currently in recession despite low unemployment rates, falling inflation throughout this year and steady economic growth.
Since inflation peaked at a rate of 9.1 percent last summer, inflation has largely eased and fell to 3.2 percent as of October. Inflation does remain above the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target, but the central bank held interest rates steady for its last two meetings, a sign of a cooling economy.
Bankrate analyst Sarah Foster previously said Americans appear to be evaluating the economy with "different metrics" that what experts are using.
“While economists are watching carefully for broad-based declines in growth, households focus on whether they can afford their needs and the occasional wants while still having enough money leftover to put toward key financial goals like saving for emergencies and retirement,” she said.
The Monmouth University poll was conduced from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4 among 803 adults in the United States. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percentage points.