Poll: Cash, not credit, rules for Virginians’ holiday spending

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 11:56 AM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ/Roanoke College Release) - More than a third of Virginians anticipate reducing their holiday spending on the heels of the 2020 economic recession and continued COVID-related uncertainty, according to results of a new Roanoke College poll.

Click here to see all the poll results.

The poll indicates fewer respondents plan to shop on Black Friday than last year, and more anticipate using cash only for their purchases.

This is the first spending season following a recession in more than a decade and is coupled with continued social distancing orders and COVID-related uncertainty. This year’s holiday spending could help determine the future of many businesses, according to poll organizers.

The poll indicates 49% of Virginians plan to spend the same amount as last year for the holidays, while 35% intend to spend less. In comparison, 25% of Virginians planned to reduce their spending in 2019.

Sixty-two percent of respondents plan to spend up to $500 on holiday gifts, according to the poll. Forty-five percent of married respondents plan to spend $500 or more, compared to 22% of non-married respondents. Most respondents who earn more than $100,000 plan to spend $500 or more.

Two-thirds of Virginians plan on using cash for their holiday purchases, meaning no new debt. That’s a three-percentage-point increase from 2019. Twenty-two percent anticipate paying with credit cards only, also up from 2019. Fewer people plan to use a combination of credit cards and cash. Forty-five percent of respondents set a specific budget for their spending.

On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, less than half of Virginians plan to do any spending, according to the poll, while 10% plan to do most or all their shopping that day.

Interviewing for the poll was done by The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College in Salem, between Nov. 8 and Nov. 19, 2020. 605 Virginians were interviewed.

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