Are you among the 11.5% of Americans not buying holiday gifts in 2021?

Nov 29, 2021, 2:41 PM
holiday shopping...
A customer shops in a Walmart store during Black Friday on Nov. 26, 2021, in Texas. Retailers are anticipating a busier holiday season than last year after the COVID pandemic caused the quietest Black Friday in 20 years. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Cyber Monday, which falls on the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday, is traditionally the biggest online shopping day of the year.

Washington Retail Association predicts booming holiday shopping season for small stores

Retail analysts are predicting that Cyber Monday in 2021 could generate $11.3 billion in online sales. But they had big predictions for Black Friday too, KIRO Radio’s Ursula Reutin reported, which was slower than expected this year.

Ursula says she did not participate in Black Friday shopping this year, nor did KIRO Nights’ Jack Stine, who was filling in for host Gee Scott on Monday’s Gee and Ursula Show.

“No way I’m leaving my house on Friday,” Jack said.

“I think that people are, notoriously on Black Friday — there’s something that has happened in America where people are just naturally on edge,” he added. “I wonder if it’s because Black Friday has kind of an essence to it now, there is kind of a vibe to it now, where it’s kind of a sad day now.”

Ursula pointed out that a lot of stores closed on Thanksgiving, giving workers that time off rather than having to work, which “was progress in many ways.”

But Jack says he still thinks of the 90s and 2000s when there would be a stampede of shoppers trying to get into stores, or people getting in a fist-fight over a flat screen TV. He also doesn’t get the appeal of standing in line to buy something when the sale price will probably still be there two weeks later.

Ursula agrees that she doesn’t like to wait in those lines, but fondly remembers waiting for the “Harry Potter” books with her son, which was a big deal.

Aside from those rushing to grab the deals, a survey that Ursula cited on the show Monday said that a record number of Americans actually say they won’t be buying any holiday gifts this year. But Jack doesn’t fall into that group.

“I’ll be getting the Mrs. a couple of things,” Jack said, also nothing that he and his wife never really do a big Christmas with lots of gifts. “I think we max out at maybe three or four each.”

“My mom, her thing is to go to the Dollar Store and buy the most useless things that I don’t need,” he added. “It’s like an avalanche of Rubik’s Cubes and keychains that I don’t need and I don’t want.”

Show producer Andrew Lanier says he wishes he could be part of the 11% who are not buying presents this year and “reject our consumer culture,” but he has young kids.

“Although one of them is an infant so she will have no idea,” he said. “She’s still going to be getting stuff.”

“I just think I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m done buying presents for anyone who is not in the immediate family, both because things are a little tighter this year for us, but it’s just too much. It’s too anxiety-inducing,” he added. “I can’t get presents for the whole extended family.”

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The same Deloitte survey that says 11.5% of Americans aren’t buying any gifts, says higher income households plan to spend five times that of lower-income households this holiday season.

“So there are going to be people who are actually planning to spend more,” Ursula said. “Overall, the National Retail Federation is saying even though more than 10% of the country will not be buying gifts, we’re not going to see a big difference because those who have money are going to be spending even more.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Are you among the 11.5% of Americans not buying holiday gifts in 2021?