Holiday Gift Budgets Reflect Sluggish Economy

The dishes are clean, the leftovers are long gone, and holiday excitement is in the air. Today is Cyber Monday, the day many websites have their own Black Friday-esque deals and steals. With holiday gift giving on our minds here at the PayScale office, we wondered how budgets have changed since last year. Would our users be spending more on gifts this year?

According to our survey respondents, only about 9 percent of PayScale users plan to increase their holiday gift budgets this year. About 50 percent told us they plan to keep their budgets about the same as last year, while roughly 42 percent plan to reduce their spending. 

Budgets According to Age 

When we broke down the data by age, we discovered 15 percent of younger gift-givers (those 20 to 30-years-old) plan to increase their budgets from last year, while those over 30 plan to be more conservative with their budgets.

Holiday Airline Travel

Budgets by Gender

It turns out men are feeling a bit more generous overall, with 10 percent of male respondents planning to spend more than they spent last year, compared to 7 percent of women. Women are closing their purses, with 46 percent spending less than last year compared to 37 percent of men. 

Holiday Gift Budgets by Gender

Generous Gifters vs. Greedy Grinches

What factors determine holiday gift budgets? Our users offered many reasons for spending less this year. Some are facing unemployment, while others haven't seen a raise in more than five years. (Special note to those users: update your profile and see if your salary potential has increased.)The biggest takeaway is that limiting a holiday budget doesn't necessarily mean someone is a grinch; it might just mean he or she is a victim of the economy which -- like many of us after a holiday meal -- seems sluggish and slow-moving.

Tell Us What You Think

Is your holiday budget higher or lower this year? Share the wealth (and your gift ideas) in the comments or on Twitter using the hashtag #cybermonday. Grab our holiday gift-giving infographics and share them with colleagues and friends.

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