2021 Military Holiday Spending Survey

Holiday spending survey

As the holiday season approaches, many of us are looking forward to time spent with family and friends, old and new traditions, and sharing meals with loved ones. But one other thing that’s often on our minds is holiday shopping

At Armed Forces Bank, we conducted a survey of some of our valuable members to find out how they’re approaching holiday shopping this year. Learn about the issues impacting holiday shopping and the results of the survey.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

2020 holiday shopping looked different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While shopping online has become more and more popular, last year’s online shopping broke records. 

Online shopping over the 2020 holidays in the U.S. grew 32.2% from 2019, totaling $188.2 billion. E-commerce sales during November 2020, including Cyber Monday, reached $100 billion for the first time. And not only were record numbers of Americans buying online, but they selected options like curbside pickup to receive their orders.

This holiday season, more consumers may feel more comfortable shopping in-store again due to the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines and lower infection rates. However, online shopping will likely continue to be popular due to its convenience.

2021 Supply Chain Issues

When it comes to holiday shopping this year, supply chain issues are impacting retailers around the world. Usually, the autumn months see retailers gearing up for the holiday rush, placing orders for stock shipments to their warehouses in anticipation for customer orders. 

But this year, shipping and supply bottlenecks have caused retailers to panic. In fact, many consumers in the U.S. began noticing longer-than-usual wait times and other issues with their orders as early as the summer. 

According to a Gallup poll in August, 60% of Americans said they were unable to get a product they wanted in the previous two months due to product shortages. And 57% said they experienced significant delays in receiving their orders. About 70% said they had experienced at least one of these issues, and 46% had experienced both.

Holiday Gift-Giving Survey Results

Our survey respondents shared information on their holiday gifting habits and what this year’s shopping will look like. In total, we had 284 responses. Download our infographic [insert]

1. For how many people do you plan to buy gifts this holiday season?

0: 1.8%

1-3: 19.3%

4-6: 28.4%

7-9: 17.9%

10 or more: 29.1%

So many I lost count! 3.5%

2. Are you a gift card giver or a present giver?

Perhaps a bit of a surprise. While gift cards certainly are convenient, true gift giving won the day with our respondents at 57.4%.

Present: 57.4%

Gift card: 27.1%

Both: 15.5%

3. On a scale of 1- 10 are you concerned about shipping times and product availability this year?

Nearly 64% of respondents were at least concerned (top half responses 6-10) about shipping time and product availability.

1 - Not Concerned: 10.6%

2: 2.1%

3: 5.6%

4: 4.2%

5: 13.7%

6: 13%

7: 18.7%

8: 12.3%

9: 4.2%

10 - Very Concerned: 15.5%

4. From which company would you prefer a gift card?

When looking at gift card purchases, shopping flexibility for gift recipients led responses with three of the top four selections. They reflected multi-product offerings, e.g., Amazon or Multiple Companies, or complete product independence, e.g., Visa.

Amazon: 28.3%

Visa: 27.0%

Walmart: 15.4%

Multiple Companies: 14.6%

Generic: 4.5%

Retail Shop: 6.3%

Tech Store: 2.6%

Beauty: 1.2%

5. Are you hosting for the holidays or going to someone else's house?

Hosting and visiting another’s home for the holidays were pretty close. Perhaps limiting visits to one home and another (multi-house holiday round robin) is still metered because of the pandemic.

Hosting: 45.8%

Someone’s house:  51.1%

Both: 3.2%

6. How far will you be traveling over the holidays?

Most respondents are sticking close to home for the holidays with nearly 60% saying they’ll travel 100 miles or less.

0-100 miles: 59.5%

101-250 miles: 13.7%

251-500 miles: 8.1%

501-1000 miles: 10.2%

1000+ miles: 8.5%

7. Will you travel by plane, car or train?

No surprise that with the short travel distance for most respondents, cars led the way as means of travel. Still interesting that “multiple means” and “other” combined for double digits responses: Bike, boat, or scooter travel, anyone?

Car: 67.6%

Plane: 16.2%

Other: 7.6%

Multiple Means: 6.1%

Train: 2.4%

8. Do you plan to shop online or in the store?

Online shopping burnout? It was the leading response, but those electing to do “both” and shop “in-store” exclusively were right there, as well. People look to be eager to get back out and about town.

Online: 35.7%

In-store: 31.8%

Both: 32.5%

9. When do you plan to start shopping this holiday season?

Undeterred by the supply chain and shortage concerns, most respondents were still waiting until November and December to start shopping with nearly 68% of the responses.

Finished shopping: 5.3%

Just started to shop: 27.1%

Will start in the next 30 days: 57.7%

Wait til the last minute: 9.9%

A Military Access Loan Can Help With Holiday Shopping

Many respondents shared in an open-ended question that they are most excited to purchase toys for kids and grandchildren and various electronics as gifts.

So, whether it’s the hot new toy or latest gadget, an Access Loan from Armed Forces Bank* can help with your holiday shopping this season. It’s just one of the ways we serve those who serve.

Our Access Loan gives our military community access to the money you need. It can help take the stress off the holiday shopping experience.

And it comes with a fast and easy approval process as an added bonus. This personal military loan has flexible credit options for Armed Forces Bank clients as well as active duty or retired military borrowers -- even if your credit isn’t perfect. We currently offer Access Loans ranging from $750 to $15,000.

How Does the Access Loan Work?

1.  Apply online in just minutes

2.  See instant-approval status

3.  Receive and accept the loan offer

4.  Get quick access to the money in an Armed Forces Bank account

If you are already an Armed Forces Bank client, your loan will be deposited directly to your account. If you are new to Armed Forces Bank, a new Access checking account will be set up first. Your loan proceeds will be deposited there within minutes.

Armed Forces Bank Access Loans offer expanded credit options for existing Armed Forces Bank clients; credit options for borrowers with little or no credit history; fixed terms and monthly payments to simplify your budget; and automated payments so you'll never miss one.

If you are looking to build or improve your credit, check out our secured credit builder credit card

*Subject to credit approval.

*Origination fees applies.

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