Nov. 7, 2013

Discover Holiday Shopping Survey Finds Consumers Dialing Down The Holidays

Gift Cards and Electronics Take Top Spots as Favorite Gifts to Give and Receive

RIVERWOODS, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 7, 2013-- Americans are planning to celebrate this holiday season without all the fuss, according to the latest Discover Annual Holiday Shopping Survey. Gift cards are the most popular gift of the season, both to give and receive, and a majority plan to skip the hustle and bustle of holiday travel.

Entertaining at home is Americans’ favorite way to celebrate, with half planning to host Thanksgiving and/or Christmas Day in their homes, followed by Christmas Eve, 35 percent; New Year’s Eve, 25 percent; and New Year’s Day, 21 percent. When hosting their holiday parties, consumers are finding ways to be festive without breaking the bank – 41 percent expect to spend between $100 and $300, and 22 percent expect to spend between $300 and $500.

Restraint over Riches: Consumers Keeping Holiday Gatherings Simple

As Americans manage expenses this season while hosting holiday parties, many will invite their guests to contribute to the merriment. Sixty-two percent say they will invite guests to bring a dish, and 39 percent will invite them to bring a beverage.

Consumers will save in other ways, including cutting postage costs by sending out email invitations instead of paper invitations, at 24 percent, and offering small bites at parties instead of a full meal, at 21 percent.

When it comes to celebrating the holiday season with friends, 46 percent will host or attend a holiday-themed party and 21 percent will let someone else do the cooking and go to a restaurant.

Top Holiday Gifts of 2013

Gift cards, perhaps one of the simplest gift options, are also what consumers are asking for most. In fact, 23 percent of Americans are somewhat likely to toss or never use a gift they receive for the holidays if they don’t like it, making gift cards the safer choice.

What gifts are you most likely to give this year?   What gifts are you most hoping to receive this year?
Gift cards   36%   30%   Gift cards
Electronics/appliances   17%   23%   Electronics/appliances
Apparel   13%   9%   Books, music, movies, etc.
Books, music, movies, etc.   10%   9%   Experience (vacation, sporting event, concert)
Home goods (furniture, décor, tools, etc.)   6%   8%   Apparel
Jewelry, watch   4%   7%   Home goods (furniture, décor, tools, etc.)
Experience (vacation, sporting event, concert)   3%   5%   Jewelry, watch
Restaurant reservations   2%   2%   Spa experience
Spa experience   1%   1%   Restaurant reservations
Other   7%   7%   Other

If the price is right, shoppers are also willing to buy things for themselves. Plentiful deep sales and retailer promotions will encourage 66 percent of shoppers to “self-gift,” or purchase a special something for themselves.

There’s No Place like Home for the Holidays

Although the holiday season is a peak time for travel, most Americans plan to stay in town this year. Sixty percent of them expect to stay local, while 26 percent plan to travel or take a vacation. Domestic destinations are the most popular for holiday travel, 81 percent; followed by the Caribbean, 11 percent; and Europe, 10 percent.

About the Discover Annual Holiday Shopping Survey

The Discover Annual Holiday Shopping Survey was an online poll of 1,005 American adults, 502 male and 503 female. The poll was conducted online between Sept. 24 and Oct. 22, 2013, by Penn Schoen and Berland.

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers home loans, private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit and money market accounts through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit

Source: Discover Financial Services

Media Contact:
Alyssa Siegele

Multimedia Files: