Galloway, N.J. — Inflation is making the holidays a bit less merry, as many in New
Jersey are cutting back on gift-giving or seasonal travel, according to a Stockton
University Poll released Monday.
Two-thirds of New Jersey adults surveyed said inflation was impacting their holiday
spending a great deal (39%) or somewhat (27%), and one in three said they will spend
less this year compared to a year ago. Nearly half (46%) are spending the same, with
only 13% spending more.
Similarly, 42% described their financial situation as worse than a year ago, with 41%
saying it’s about the same and 15% saying it’s better. How are people coping with higher
costs? Almost half (47%) said they are spending less on everyday expenses to save
more money for holiday shopping. Fifty-one percent said they have not had to scrimp to
pay for holiday spending.
The Stockton Poll of 570 New Jersey adults was conducted Oct. 26 through Nov. 15 for
the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University and has a margin
of error of +/-4.1%.
“Inflation has gripped consumers with grinch-like tenacity,” said John Froonjian, director
of the Hughes Center. “It is making holiday shopping more challenging, but people will
spend less on their daily expenses to maintain the spirit of giving.”
Adults aged 30-49 — the group most likely to be raising children — are especially
challenged by the economy, according to the poll. About three-quarters (76%) said
inflation is affecting their spending plans, including 45% who are greatly impacted. Sixty
percent said they have cut back on living expenses to be able to afford the holidays.
About one in four (27%) New Jersey adults plan to travel over the holidays but most
(68%) do not. Fourteen percent said they had to change or cancel their travel plans, and
42% of all respondents said cost affected their decisions about taking holiday trips. One
in five said airline disruptions and concern about flight cancellations affected their
thinking, and 22% said concerns about COVID-19 affected their travel decisions.
Among those who will shop for the holidays (11% will do no shopping), 53% plan to shop
online using apps on a device or through retailer websites, while 30% plan to go to
stores in person. Either way, some shoppers are already experiencing pandemic-era
shopping frustrations. One in five said the gift they wanted to buy was out of stock, and
one in three have experienced shipping delays, said Hughes Center Research Associate
One out of five shoppers (21%) got an early jump and started shopping in October or earlier, and 22% started earlier this month. Thirty percent are waiting until Thanksgiving
or early December to get started, and 6% are waiting until late December to start their
One silver lining for those staying put over the holidays is that majorities feel there is
plenty to do in New Jersey that is affordable and family friendly. When asked about local
recreational options, 57% agreed there are adequate free recreational options and 61%
said they are satisfied with affordable options for recreation. And 65% said there are
adequate family-friendly activities available where they live.
Still, one in three said they have had to forego recreational plans because of the cost,
the poll found.
For full results of the poll, go to stockton.edu/hughes-center/polling/polling-results- 2022.html.
The poll of New Jersey adult residents was conducted by the Stockton Polling Institute
of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy from Oct. 26-Nov. 15, 2022. Stockton
University students texted cell phones with invitations to take the survey online and
Opinion Services supplemented the dialing portion of the fieldwork, which consisted of
cell and landline telephone calls. Overall, 90% of interviews were conducted on cell
phones and 10% on landline phones. In terms of mode, 79% were reached via dialing
and 21% were reached via text-to-web. A total of 570 New Jersey adult residents were
interviewed. Both cell and landline samples consisted of random digit dialing (RDD)
sample from MSG. Data are weighted based on U.S. Census Bureau American
Community Survey data for New Jersey on variables of age, race, ethnicity, education
level, sex, and region. The poll’s margin of error is +/- 4.1 percentage points at a 95%
confidence level. MOE is higher for subsets.
About the Hughes Center
The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy (stockton.edu/hughescenter) at
Stockton University serves as a catalyst for research, analysis and innovative policy
solutions on the economic, social and cultural issues facing New Jersey, and promotes
the civic life of New Jersey through engagement, education and research. The center is
named for the late William J. Hughes, whose distinguished career includes service in the
U.S. House of Representatives, Ambassador to Panama and as a Distinguished Visiting
Professor at Stockton. The Hughes Center can be found on YouTube, and can be
followed on Facebook @StocktonHughesCenter, Twitter @hughescenter and
Instagram @ stockton_hughes_center.
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