LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Siena College Research Institute (SCRI) released a Holiday poll asking New Yorkers about Christmas, shopping, and Bitcoin.

According to SCRI, 66% of New Yorkers are somewhat or very excited about the upcoming holiday season, up from 59% last year. While most, 43%, plan to spend as they did last year, only 17% plan to increase their spending compared with 37% that say they will spend less.

47% say they plan to do at least half of their shopping online which is down from 57% last year. 70% of consumers have already or plan to shop earlier than usual, and 52% will shop more in-person forgoing online shopping. A majority, 56%, intend to spend less than they had planned.

Up from only 26% a year ago, 34%, now say that they believe in Santa Claus. At the same time, 44% believe that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are legitimate currency.

“Belief in Santa and Bitcoin, hmmm, is an odd combo this season but perhaps we’re seeing a changing of the guard,” according to SCRI Director, Don Levy. “Belief in Bitcoin’s legitimacy is highest among younger consumers and lowest among those age 65 and above while saying I believe in Santa is most difficult for those 18-34 years of age to express.”

“While most New Yorkers are planning to either spend less or hold the line on spending, 17% plan to
spend more than last year and 18%, down from 32% a year ago, will spend $1000 or more. Plans to shop online are down from last year as over two-thirds of residents say they will visit local independent stores, small-to-medium chain stores, and 59% will frequent big box retailers. Two-thirds of us have gift cards on our list and 28% plan to buy experience gifts like concert or sporting tickets or spa gift cards. Still, hanging over the head of this season only a quarter of all New Yorkers are better off financially than the were last holiday season,” Levy said.

“While a majority of New Yorkers of every income bracket are excited about the holiday season, intent to spend as well as assessments of their financial well-being vary widely between those making $100k or more and those earning $50k or less,” Levy said. “Among higher earners, equal percentages say they will spend more or spend less, almost three times as many say they are doing better financially than are worse off and nearly 40% will spend more than $1000 on gifts. Among those earning $50k or less, four times as many will spend less rather than more, over twice as many are worse off financially rather than better off and only 7% will spend more than $1000 on holiday gifts.”

SCRI asked consumers about classic holiday events that many say are part of this season:

(Looking Forward %-Dreading %)

  • Spending time with family (74%- 7%)
  • Eating and eating some more (58%-15%)
  • Cooking for the holiday (54%-17%)
  • Decorating the house (53%-17%)
  • Looking forward to rather than dreading wrapping gifts (47%-25%)
  • Going to holiday parties (42%-21%)
  • Spending money on gifts (35%-35%)
  • Attending concerts, pageants or ceremonies, (26-23%)

“This time of year many of us look forward to many aspects of the season but number one is spending time with family and friends. We’re clearly ambivalent when it comes to spending money on gifts, we love the shopping and giving gifts to our loved ones but in difficult economic times, we worry about our spending. It might be a joke but topping the list of things we dread during the holiday season is eating fruit cake,” Levy said.

“Needless to say, it’s been a rough year. Most New Yorkers are hopeful that 2022 will be a better year than 2021 has been. Here’s hoping they’re right,” Levy said