Inflation forces more Americans to cut down on holiday shopping lists

The largest annual rise in inflation in nearly four decades is forcing four in 10 Americans to cut back on their holiday shopping lists, according to a new poll. 

Due to surging product prices, 21% admitted they cut back on spending a little this season while 19% said they cut back on spending by a lot, according to a Monmouth University poll. However, 48% said their purchasing habits haven’t changed even as consumer prices in November jumped 6.8% over the past year — the quickest rate since 1982. 

Some of the largest cost spikes have been for such necessities as food, energy, housing, autos and clothing.


A number of consumers’ shopping lists have also been hampered by widespread supply chain issues. 

Nearly half of Americans said items were out of stock at stores compared to years past, according to the poll. Just over 40% said that items they wanted were out of stock online, and 34% of respondents had packages that were delayed or went missing, according to the data. 

Pandemic-related supply chain issues and surging inflation have put undue stress on an increasing number of Americans.   

A shopper walks through the aisles of the Dollar Tree store in Alhambra, California, on Dec. 10, 2021.

A shopper walks through the aisles of the Dollar Tree store in Alhambra, California, on Dec. 10, 2021. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

“Inflation and supply chain problems are having an impact on holiday shopping,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement. “It appears that most Americans are trying to make this year as normal as they can, but it may be taking some of the joy out of the season.”

Still, 22% reported that they were still on track to finish their shopping by the end of November and 32% expect to finish by mid-December. This is “nearly identical” to what consumers reported in 2018, according to Monmouth.    


According to the poll, 36% of Americans found that this holiday season is more enjoyable compared to the rest of the year, down from 41% reported in 2018 and 44% in 2015. 

The Monmouth University poll was conducted by telephone from Dec. 2-6 with responses collected from more than 800 adults in the United States. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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