Did you know that more than one-quarter of holiday gift givers are thinking of what to buy for themselves this yuletide season? Despite the various opinions on whether or not self-gifting is cool or uncool, people do it. And, there are even more gift buyers doing so this year than in years past.

When CivicScience first studied self-gifting in 2020 – the pandemic year – self-gifters represented 24% of the holiday gift-buying population. This year, slightly more (28%) say they will certainly put a present for themselves under the tree.

Clear markers for self-gifting were employment status, income, and age: people who are confidently employed are more likely than those unemployed to buy for themselves. Similarly, the more money someone makes in a year, the more likely they are to buy a gift for themselves during the holidays. 

In regards to age, Gen Z holds the largest percentage of self-gifters when compared to other age groups. It might seem counterintuitive in relation to the other markers of self-gifting (being employed and earning more than $150K), but the trend aligns with previous data showing 18- to 24-year-olds are the most likely age group to splurge on themselves

Gen Z also reports being more unhappy than 18- to 24-year-olds were five years ago, which coincides with the general happiness levels of self-gifters. Without factoring in age, the data show a correlation between general unhappiness over the last year and buying oneself a holiday gift. Happy people aren’t buying themselves gifts at nearly the same rate as unhappy people.

Holiday Spending

The dollar amount spent on gifts for oneself increased this year. While most self-gifters are spending $100 or less, a greater percentage of consumers will spend between $100 and $200 this year compared to last year. Perhaps it’s a general, years-long sigh of relief post-pandemic, or perhaps a recognition of rising prices. People who report concern about inflation in the United States over-index in likelihood to refrain from buying themselves a gift this year. Even people unconcerned about inflation report being unsure if this is a treat yourself holiday or not.

Self-gifting is a niche yet solid holiday trend that hasn’t slowed over the last two years. While certain economic factors naturally allow or restrict spending on oneself, it’s important to note that unhappy people, specifically younger unhappy people, are more likely than others to partake or consider the trend.

Want to learn more about this year’s top consumer holiday trends? Start here.