- Business

1 in 4 shoppers are finished holiday shopping

At least a quarter of Americans have already checked holiday shopping off their to-do list, according to a new survey by LendingTree.

The survey — used to gauge consumer sentiment about holiday shopping plans — revealed that one in four consumers finished shopping as early as the first week of October. This indicates that the virus-related economic downturn hasn’t stopped all shoppers from digging into their wallets this season.

Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst for LendingTree, says some Americans “have a little more money in their bank accounts today than they otherwise would.”

This is due in part “because of the coronavirus relief bill, increased unemployment benefits and overall reduced spending during the last six months,” Schulz said.

As a result, some may be taking advantage of the extra cash for some holiday shopping, he said.

According to the survey results, parents with kids under 18 years old were shown to be “the most proactive” with 44% finishing their holiday shopping. Additionally, nearly 50% of consumers with household incomes of at least $100,000 have also finished up their holiday duties.

However, this isn’t the case across the board. In fact, nearly half of the consumers admitted that they haven’t even started shopping. About 28% started but haven’t finished their checklist.

This year, however, the season brings additional challenges especially for the more than 64 million Americans have filed for government unemployment insurance since the coronavirus lockdowns began in mid-March.

The survey revealed that nearly a third of consumers expect to go into holiday shopping debt this year.

Nearly 50% of consumers who were laid off or furloughed as a result of the pandemic expect to go into debt compared to 18% of those who did not have their income impacted this year.

“There’s always concern about going into debt over the holidays,” said Schulz. “But when unemployment is as high as it currently is, that concern should be even greater.”

Schulz pointed to the elevated unemployment rate which sat around 7.9% in September, a far cry from the 3.5% recorded a year ago.

For their results, LendingTree surveyed more than 1,000 consumers in the U.S. in early October.

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