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Survey: Americans plan to spend more, give less this holiday season

  • Americans now less likely to decrease holiday spending due to current economy
  • But fewer Americans report increase in charitable giving
  • Bad news for charities?

Media contact:

John Yeager
Special Projects Director
425.765.9845 (c)

Click for survey data (PDF)

Seattle, WA (November 15, 2012) — A new study says fewer Americans plan to spend less money on holiday gifts this year as a result of the current economic climate, but at the same time, many are less likely to give a charitable gift as a holiday present. Last year, according to the World Vision Holiday Giving Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, about half of US adults (51 percent) agreed they’d be “more likely” to give a charitable gift as a holiday present as a result of the current economic climate. This year that percentage dropped six points to 45 percent. This is the fifth year World Vision has commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct research on holiday charitable giving.

The survey also shows that about six in ten (59 percent) say that “as a result of the current economic climate” they will spend less money on holiday presents this year. This represents a huge 12 percentage point drop from 2011 when about seven out of ten (71 percent) said they’d plan to spend less money of holiday gifts. World Vision Gift Catalog Director Sarah Renusch says, “We have gone through these tough times and it’s surprising that instead of being more sympathetic, Americans are spending more on holiday gifts and giving less to charity. If there is a silver lining”, Renusch adds,” it’s that more than 8 out of ten (83 percent) say they’d prefer to receive a meaningful gift that would help someone else instead of a traditional gift like clothing or electronics.”

More key findings:

  • Most Americans still prefer meaningful gift

83 % in 2012 - 80% in 2011 - 80% in 2010
76% in 2009 - 84% in 2008

  • Social media makes Americans more aware

One in two (49 percent) say social media
affected their charitable giving

The social media numbers are encouraging as well. Nearly one in two Americans (49 percent) say social media has affected their charitable giving this holiday season. And nearly four in ten (39 percent) say social media have made them more aware of the needs of others. World Vision has more than one million Facebook fans.

“A gift given from the World Vision Gift Catalog significantly improves the life of a child or family in need by providing tools and opportunities to overcome extreme poverty, while at the same time honoring your friends and loved ones,” says Renusch. For each World Vision gift, the giver can make the donation in the name of a friend, family member, or business associate. At the donor’s request, World Vision then sends special cards to those individuals, describing the gifts and their impact.

The 2012 holiday season marks the 17th annual edition of the World Vision Gift Catalog. Last year alone, the World Vision U.S. Gift Catalog raised over $33 million and provided assistance to more than 825,000 people around the world. Last year, 67,000 goats were purchased by donors. World Vision launched the Gift Catalog in 1996. And while a goat ($75) may be World Vision’s number one seller, there are more than 100 gifts to choose from (more than 30 gifts in the catalog are $35 or less, including items like chickens, job training or fruit trees).

Donors who order by December 17 can choose to have a card sent in honor of a loved one. Cards can also be printed or e-mailed from the website at any time to let an honoree know that something special has been done for them this Christmas.

To order in the United States: www.worldvisiongifts.org. or call toll-free 888-511-6511.

World Vision U.S. Gift Catalog on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldvision.

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World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicate to working with children, families and their communities worldwide by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. For more information please visit WorldVision.org.

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