1 in 5 Americans started holiday shopping last month amid rising prices, supply chain issues

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NEW YORK — Over half of Americans would rather take a vacation this holiday season than have a traditional family get-together. A recent survey polled 2,000 people to see how this year’s holiday season will shape up and found 59 percent are eager to take a trip rather than celebrate at home.

Many are actively planning their trips – 73 percent of those expecting to travel for the holidays say they’ll start making arrangements in October, and for good reason. Nearly three-quarters of those planning to travel for the holidays this year plan to spend more on these trips this year than ever before.

Holiday shopping already underway for many

Holiday experiencesConducted by OnePoll for Affirm, the survey finds that 54 percent of all respondents plan to spend more on experiences (like traveling or attending and hosting parties) over physical gifts. In fact, the top gift Americans plan to give this year is a memorable experience, like tickets to a concert or sporting event. Moreover, the top gift Americans hope to receive this year is a vacation. In addition to memorable experiences, Americans are planning to shop for electronics (29%), clothing (25%), and a vacation (26%) for their loved ones.

Exactly how much do Americans plan on spending? For significant others this year, the average respondent is planning to drop nearly $400 and just over $300 for each immediate family member.

Due to the high price tags during the season, 61 percent of respondents no longer wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales to start their holiday shopping. In fact, one in five started their shopping in September this year, with nearly a quarter (23%) stating it’s because they want to better budget their funds.

“Although many Americans are eager to celebrate the holidays this year with a special getaway, over 60 percent of respondents agree that a spike in cost is holding them back from traveling in the way they’d like,” says Silvija Martincevic, Chief Commercial Officer at Affirm, in a statement. “Planning ahead of time can help consumers to better navigate and budget their holiday spending, especially as nearly half of respondents say that they plan to spend more this holiday season in order to make it memorable.”

‘Tis the season for anxiety

Holiday experiencesAmidst the increased spending this year, more than half (54%) of Americans say they experience anxiety over holiday shopping. Another 52 percent agree they feel pressure to overspend and seven in 10 Americans end up going over budget.

When it comes to the biggest holiday stressors, staying on budget is the top concern this year (41%) – incurring long-term debt (31%), shipping costs (28%), ​​and late charges or hidden fees (26%) following closely behind.

To help ease the pressures, 72 percent plan to rely heavily on online shopping to avoid crowds as 57 percent anticipate that this year’s holiday shopping season will be busier than a typical year.

“In addition to getting a head start on their holiday shopping, we’re encouraged to see consumers take advantage of flexible payment solutions to help them spend responsibly this year,” Martincevic adds. “In fact, over half of Americans are interested in using a pay-over-time solution for their holiday shopping – and nearly 70 percent believe that it helps them to budget better.”