From Spending to Celebrating: The 2015 Holiday Season in 25 Stats
Do you remember what the holidays felt like when you were a kid? School projects took a festive turn, cookies and sweets were just a little bit sweeter, subtle hints about the gifts you wanted weren't quite subtle enough. Everything seemed wondrous for a brief, special time.
Unfortunately, being an adult means that sense of magic is likely replaced with an emotion fit for the Grinch: stress.
From picking just the right gift for everyone on your list, to the sheer burden of financing all of your seasonal expenses, the holidays can be overwhelming. The spirit of the holiday season can be quantified, from the amount of money we spend to the exact count of candy canes made, chocolate Santas consumed, average miles traveled and trees cut down to furnish our homes. Using National Retail Federation survey data for 2015, FindTheData found 25 fascinating facts about the holiday season.
This is a slight uptick from last year's spending ($802.45, on average) and a massive change from the period right after the Great Recession, when consumer spending on the holidays fell to a low of $681.83 in 2009.
That's the number of candy canes made each year in the United States alone, enough for each U.S. resident to enjoy more than five a piece.
We'll travel pretty far for Thanksgiving, even farther throughout the year for various trips, but even farther still for Christmas. The average American is expected to travel 275 miles to spend the holiday with the people they love.
Women use it even more so than men. In total, 90.8 percent of men surveyed by the NRF are expecting to take advantage of free online shipping services, whereas 95.3 percent of women intend to.
According to the NRF, of those surveyed this year, 47 percent said that the availability of a free shipping option dictates where they'll buy their gifts.
It seems blood is thicker than water: Gifts for friends get one-fourth the expense of those for family.
That beats fake trees that year by about 10 million. To be fair, because they're reusable, fake trees might adorn more U.S. homes, given purchases from years past.
That's just about two packages per U.S. resident. FedEx expects about half as many packages, at 317 million.
Women slightly outpace men on the gift-planning front. Before September, 9.3 percent of men had begun shopping for the holidays whereas 15.8 percent of women had started. The trend continues through October until men are making more purchases than women from November until the last two weeks of December.
If you're looking for a holiday gig, you'll likely have the best luck at a toy, hobby or game store. These retailers bulk up the most in preparation for the biggest shopping season, adding 38.5 percent to their ranks, on average.
"Treat yo' self," a concept made popular by "Parks and Recreation," was exercised by 77 percent of shoppers last holiday season.
According to NRF data, 55.8 percent of respondents plan to splurge on non-gift items for themselves this year. Spending on such gifts will average $131.59 - a $5 increase from last year.
Oregon is the most spirited ... in terms of Christmas tree production. North Carolina comes in second place with 4.29 million trees harvested.
Looks like no one's looking for a holiday palm tree - Hawaii harvests just 2,007 Christmas trees in total.
And that's the second-largest purchase when combined with candy. Decorations, flowers and cards follow, but given that you can buy quite a few cards with $38.48, it's not all that surprising.
Smartphones will play a role in how people buy gifts this year. Hello opportunities for mobile advertisers and retail apps.
That said, Christmas is the biggest day for the holiday card companies. It trumps the number purchased for nearly every other holiday a card is appropriate for. Christmas cards purchased total 1.6 billion annually, that's an average of roughly five cards per U.S. resident.
It usually feels like the cop-out gift, but 51.1 percent of men claim that's their most-desired gift; for women that figure is 66.2 percent ... and people think shopping for gifts is difficult.
Chocolate is a big holiday treat, and we've likely all seen or enjoyed a chocolate Santa. That's because approximately 150 million are produced by chocolatiers every year, according to the National Confectioners Association.
We won't name them all here, but a lot of major countries make the list: Argentina, Sweden, Norway, Venezuela, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Iran, South African and Denmark. Estimates of 2015 U.S. holiday spending sit at $630.5 billion.
For every one American who celebrates Hanukkah, 14 celebrate Christmas. For Kwanzaa, that ratio is 1 to 49.
Now all the promotional advertisement makes sense: over half of people are looking to take advantage of such deals, getting their gifts for below retail value.
We're spending a bit more on just about everything this year compared to every year dating back to 2004.
It's no surprise that the trend toward online shopping is increasing. What's more surprising is that online shopping has not yet tipped the scale - the majority of shopping is still happening at physical stores, in-person.
Queue the revenue for big-box retailers that carry clothing, accessories and more. We'll be looking at the revenue uptick for Macy's, J.C. Penney, Nordstrom and the like.
We spent $1.04 billion on Christmas trees last year. That was down from its highest point since the financial crisis, seen in 2013.
Don't be surprised by the mobs of red-and-white-clad individuals making pilgrimages to stores and bars in your town en masse. According to the official SantaCon website, 314 international locations pay tribute to Saint Nick in big public gatherings.
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