As the holiday shopping continues, consumers are feeling confident. In fact, the Consumer Confidence Index, which measures optimism of the U.S. economy, increased to 107.1 in November, from 100.8 in October — a nine-year high.
But despite that, consumers have concerns. According to Ebates’ Holiday Survey, nearly all American shoppers (93 percent) say there is at least one aspect of holiday shopping that they feel nervous or skeptical about. The cash-back shopping platform and subsidiary of Rakuten led a survey of more than 1,000 adults and 500 teenagers. The holiday shopping budget is the top concern: Both women and men are most worried about staying on budget (55 percent of women and 46 percent of men).
And that concern may indeed hold some weight.
A separate study by VitalSmarts reported that “eight out of 10 people either overspend or have a spouse or partner who overspends during the holiday season, and nearly 56 percent say it is difficult to discuss holiday spending with their spouse or partner or avoid bringing up their concerns altogether.”
But the Ebates study dove into the other worries of consumers this holiday season, from “emergency gifts” to what to expect from the spouse and even the in-laws.
Following the budget, the next concern — 52 percent of women and 51 percent of men — was focused on if certain items would be in stock, and some even go so far as to worry that they won’t be able to find what they need at all (42 percent of men and 44 percent of women).
“Staying on budget is a concern for many families during the holidays, and finding the best deals can be time-consuming,” said Kevin H. Johnson, CEO of Ebates, which is a rewards platform allowing consumers to make purchases and receive cash back from more than 2,000 retailers.
And between the Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other shopping discounts, about a third of both men and women are concerned that a deal is just too good to be true, and they’re just being taken for a ride.
Meanwhile, who shoppers didn’t think of is also a big worry. What happens when someone gives a gift, but there isn’t one to give back? Research was nearly split on whether to keep an “emergency gift” on hand, just in case — 52 percent said they don’t keep one on hand. For those that do, women are more likely to have lotions and body spray ready to go, while men will keep a gift card or eGift card. Other popular options include candles (54 percent), wine or other alcohol (41 percent) or just cold, hard cash (41 percent).
And when it comes to receiving gifts from family, more than a quarter of men don’t trust their spouse to pick out what they want, while they’re also least excited to receive gifts from their grandparents (1 percent). Meanwhile, about 20 percent of women are reluctant about what they’ll receive from their in-laws.
But despite all that anxiety around gift giving and receiving, holiday spending is still expected to increase 10 percent over last year, reaching one of its highest points since the Recession.