In hopes that budgets will land on the “Nice” list this year, plans for holiday spending appear nearly identical to those last year, but up from 2014.

Holiday season expected shopping.

The only shift comes from a 2% increase in those who intend to spend more, and a 2% decrease in those who expect to spend the same–both of which are within the margin of error.

What’s more, the CivicScience and Hamilton Place Strategies Economic Sentiment Index (ESI) is nearly the same as it was last year. On November 17, 2015, the index stood at 48.2, today the index is up by .2 at 48.4.

Considering the fall we’ve had, this number is somewhat surprising. The rise and fall of the markets over the past several weeks have evened out, and while sentiment isn’t soaring, it’s steady.

What’s changed?

  • Across the board, more people will shop online this year. 37% of individuals who intend to spend less plan to shop for 50% or more of their holiday gifts online. This group is more likely to showroom across websites and visit stores and then buy online as well.
  • 55% of those who want to spend less this season are “Very concerned” right now about jobs and the economy.
  • People who follow technology trends are twice as likely to answer “Will spend more.” Naturally, they are twice as likely to want or own an augmented reality device.
  • Parents and people between the ages of 35-54 are more likely to answer “Will spend less.”
  • Netflix users intend to spend less this holiday season.

Intent doesn’t always reflect outcome, and while some expect holiday spending to increase 10% this season, we’ll have to follow up to see if shoppers stayed within their budgets.