HPU Poll: More North Carolinians Are Shopping Online for the Holidays

Nov 17th, 2021

HPU Poll: More North Carolinians Are Shopping Online for the Holidays

Only 18% plan to do most shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, while more than half won’t shop on Black Friday.


HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 17, 2021 – A recent High Point University Poll finds 28% of North Carolinians plan to shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday. More than half (58%) polled say they will not shop on Black Friday this year, while 14% are unsure.

When North Carolinians do shop for the holidays this year, only 18% plan to do most of their shopping at brick-and-mortar stores, while 37% plan to do most of their shopping online. An additional 32% of respondents say they will do both equally.

Almost a third (31%) say they will start shopping earlier than usual this year, while more than half of N.C. residents (56%) say they will start holiday shopping about the same time as last year. Only 6% say they will start shopping later than usual.

When it comes to holiday spending, 33% of North Carolinians in the new poll say they will spend less on the holidays this year, while 42% say they will spend about the same amount of money on the holidays this year compared to last year. Only about one in five (21%) respondents say they will spend more than last year.

Changes to Holiday Shopping Since the Pandemic (2019 to 2021 comparison)

Several findings from the HPU Poll in fall 2019 and fall 2021 illustrate some key shifts related to holiday shopping since the pandemic began.

For example, overall spending has decreased by more than $200, from $949 in 2019 to $744 this year, on gifts, food, decorations and other items related to the holidays.

The proportions of shoppers going online and not shopping in stores have also changed significantly since before the COVID-19 pandemic. In the fall 2019 HPU Poll, 32% said they would do most of their shopping online, and 24% said they would do most of their shopping in brick-and-mortar stores.

According to the 2019 HPU Poll, 38% of people said they would shop on Black Friday, compared to the 53% who said they were not going to shop. Only 10% said they weren’t sure if they would shop on Black Friday last year.

Holiday Shopping and COVID-19 Risks

Changes in shopping behavior may be a result of the concern people have about the risks associated with COVID-19. In the new poll, almost two out of five (39%) of respondents said the COVID-19 pandemic affected their decision about where to shop this year a lot or some. A total of 57% say that COVID-19 has affected their decision about where to shop a little (16%) or not much at all (41%).

When asked how much their views of COVID-19 affected their holiday shopping overall this year, one in five (20%) of North Carolinians say a lot, while about a third (34%) say it has affected their shopping a little bit, and two in five (40%) say their views of COVID-19 have not affected their shopping at all.

“Along with the ongoing return to normalcy, we see some return to brick-and-mortar shopping,” says Dr. Daniel Hall, interim dean of the Earl N. Phillips School of Business. “This return, however, is not happening on Black Friday, which historically refers to brick-and-mortar, and Cyber Monday to online shopping. Some may be shopping earlier than Black Friday in anticipation of supply chain constraints.”

“Most of the North Carolinians we surveyed said that they do not plan on shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving,” says Brian McDonald, associate director of the HPU Poll and adjunct professor. “About 40% said that their views of COVID-19 have not affected their holiday shopping this year.”

Full Data and Methodology

All adults – Friday After Thanksgiving (October/November 2021)

Now I would like to ask you some questions about holiday shopping this year.

As you may know, the Friday after Thanksgiving is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Looking ahead, do you personally plan on shopping on the Friday after Thanksgiving, or not?

Yes – 28%

No – 58%

Unsure – 14%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Oct. 22 – Nov. 4, n = 968 and credibility interval is +/- 3.3%)

HPU Poll Black Friday Shopping

All adults – Most Holiday Shopping (October/November 2021)

Do you plan to do most of your holiday shopping in brick-and-mortar stores or online this year?

Brick-and-mortar stores – 18%

Online – 37%

Both equally – 32%

Unsure – 13%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Oct. 22 – Nov. 4, n = 968 and credibility interval is +/- 3.3%)

 

All adults –Holiday Spending (October/November 2021)

Thinking ahead to the holiday season, how much do you think that you will spend this year on gifts, food, decorations and other items related to your celebration of the holidays?

Mean (average): $744

*Calculated based on n=804 numeric responses.

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Oct. 22 – Nov. 4, n = 968 and credibility interval is +/- 3.3%)

All adults – COVID-19 and Holiday Shopping (October/November 2021)

How much of your decision about where to shop has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic?

A lot – 19%

Some – 20%

A little – 16%

Not much at all – 41%

Unsure – 4%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Oct. 22 – Nov. 4, n = 968 and credibility interval is +/- 3.3%)

 HPU Poll Holiday Spending

All adults –Holiday Spending (October/November 2021)

Do you think that you will spend more, less or about the same as last year on gifts, food, decorations and other items related to your celebration of the holidays?

More – 21%

Less – 33%

About the same – 42%

Unsure – 5%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Oct. 22 – Nov. 4, n = 968 and credibility interval is +/- 3.3%)

 

All adults –Holiday Shopping – Earlier or Later? (October/November 2021)

Do you think you will start holiday shopping earlier than usual, later than usual, or about the same time as any other year?

Earlier – 31%

About the same time as usual – 56%

Later – 6%

Unsure – 8%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Oct. 22 – Nov. 4, n = 968 and credibility interval is +/- 3.3%)

 

All adults – COVID-19 and Holiday Spending (October/November 2021)

How much have your views of COVID-19, the coronavirus, affected your holiday shopping this year?

A lot – 20%

A little bit – 34%

Not at all – 40%

Unsure – 6%

(Telephone and online interviews with North Carolina residents, surveyed Oct. 22 – Nov. 4, n = 968 and credibility interval is +/- 3.3%)

The most recent HPU Poll was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on Oct. 22 through Nov. 4, 2021, and an online survey was fielded at the same time. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 968 adults interviewed online (808 respondents) as well as landline or cellular telephones (160 respondents). The Survey Research Center contracted with dynata, formerly Research Now SSI: https://www.dynata.com/  to acquire these samples, and fielded the online survey using the SRC’s Qualtrics platform. This is a combined sample of live phone interviews and online interviews. The online sampling is from a panel of respondents, so their participation does not adhere to usual assumptions associated with random selection. Therefore, it is not appropriate to assign a classic margin of sampling error for the results. In this case, the SRC provides a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points to account for a traditional 95% confidence interval for the estimates (plus or minus 3.1 percentage points) and a design effect of 1.1 (based on the weighting). The data is weighted toward population estimates for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education based on U.S. Census numbers for North Carolina. Factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional errors into the findings of opinion polls. Details from this survey are available here.

Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://www.highpoint.edu/src/. The materials online include past press releases as well as memos summarizing the findings (including approval ratings) for each poll since 2010.

The HPU Poll reports methodological details in accordance with the standards set out by AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative, and the HPU Survey Research Center is a Charter Member of the Initiative. For more information, see

http://transparency.aapor.org/index.php/transparency.

You can follow the HPU Poll on Twitter at https://twitter.com/HPUSurveyCenter.

Dr. Martin Kifer, chair and associate professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Brian McDonald is the associate director of the HPU Poll.