Kids and Pets Can Both Expect Happy Holidays: More Americans Plan on Buying Toys and Gifts This Year

And those spending on toys this year increasingly plan to spend more

Nov 10, 2015, 05:05 ET from The Harris Poll

NEW YORK, Nov. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Just as we finish packing up our Halloween costumes, it seems it's already time to start gearing up for the next round of holidays.  And though children may be sad to see their trick-or-treating candy piles dwindling, they can rest assured that more goodies are on the horizon. Nearly six in ten Americans (58%) are planning to purchase toys as gifts this holiday season, a seven point jump from last year's 51%.

Moreover, among those planning a toy purchase, three in ten (30%) say the total cost of those gifts will add up to more than last year (up twelve points from 2014).  Just over one-fourth (27%) say they'll be spending less than last year, down a bit from 31% in 2014, while four in ten (40%) anticipate their spending will be "no different than last year" (vs. 48% in 2014).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,225 U.S. adults surveyed online between October 14 and 19, 2015. Full results of this study, including data tables, can be found here.

Another group of family members should also be looking forward to getting something special this season.  More than four in ten Americans (43%, up six points from last year) – and six in ten pet owners (61%) –plan to buy presents for pets this holiday season. It is also worth noting that even among those without pets, 16% plan on buying a present for a pet. 

But who's really doing the spending?
As one might expect, most (86%) parents with children under 18 living at home plan to buy toys as gifts this year, though it's worth noting that 45% of those without minors at home plan to do so as well.  Meanwhile, the younger the children the more likely parents are to be showering them with gifts this season.  Parents of children 9 or under (92%) are the most likely to make toy purchases, as compared to those who are parents of tweens (ages 10-12, 84%) or full blown teenagers (ages 13-17, 77%).

Popular purchases
So what might these lucky children receive?  Children's books (perhaps one by younger Americans' favorite author) top the list of planned purchases (45%), followed by arts and crafts supplies (36%), dolls (34%) and console video games (32%).  Three in ten each will be bringing home board games (30%), and/or building blocks and bricks (30%).

Another quarter (25%) plan to present sports equipment as a present this year, while 21% are looking to give handheld electronic games (21%) and 16% plan on giving game consoles (16%).

Large discount stores win again
Where will all these gift-givers be shopping?  Nearly half (47%) plan to shop at large discount stores, while over a third say they'll surf for gifts online (36%).  Less than one in ten each plan to buy presents at national toy store retail chains (9%) or local privately owned specialty stores (5%).

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This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between October 14 and 19, 2015 among 2,225 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #69, November 10, 2015
By Hannah Pollack, Research Analyst, The Harris Poll

About The Harris Poll®
Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. For more information, or to see other recent polls, visit the Harris Poll News Room.

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SOURCE The Harris Poll