As we grow ever-closer to the official start of the holiday season and coronavirus cases are on the rise again, it can tend to put a bit of a damper on your holiday cheer. This year has brought about a lot of uncertainty and disappointment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The holiday season is supposed to be the best time of the year, but this year, people are just ready for the new year to start. In a "Holiday Host" survey taken by award-winning performance marketing company What If Media Group, it is evident that this will likely be the least-festive holiday season on record. What If Media Group surveyed almost 23,000 adults in the U.S., from October 14 - October 19, 2020. They were looking to discover how this holiday season is shaping up for the average American, if holiday parties will be conspicuously absent, and if folks will still be feeling festive this year.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, Seth Gottlieb, president of What If Media Group, informs us that two-thirds of Americans' income has decreased, causing consumers' spending to decline as well. When asked if respondents would be hosting a holiday event this year, 76 percent responded that they will not be hosting any sort of holiday event, while 19.4 percent of American citizens will still be hosting holiday events. Normally, bakers', retailers', and caterers' businesses are at an all-time high during the Christmas season, but with few people hosting any events, it seems as if businesses will not be generating the revenue they normally expect. Even with the small percentage of citizens who will be hosting a holiday event, Gottlieb still believes that the statistics are more encouraging for the industry, compared to what America has been seeing throughout the course of the year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also greatly impacted personal and business travel this year. The whole world was in quarantine for about four months, and even now, with most countries out of quarantine (while some return to a second lockdown), people are nervous to travel, and many countries are keeping their borders closed and not letting people visit. Traveling for the holiday was at a record-high last year, with 55 million Americans—more than 16 percent of the population—traveling for just Thanksgiving alone. This year, almost 40 percent of respondents have decided to stay home due to the coronavirus. Almost 11 percent of Americans have decided to travel for the holidays despite the pandemic, and the other 18 percent are still undecided. A lot of the population's holiday plans are not impacted by Covid-19, however, as 31.4 percent of respondents noted that they normally do not travel for the holidays anyway.
Of those who have decided to travel for the holiday season, it is not surprising that about 62 percent of respondents will be driving to their destination. It is interesting that What If Media Group found that almost 14 percent of the respondents who will be traveling this year will be traveling by plane, instead of driving as they usually did. Gottlieb mentions how even though American citizens have less money in their pockets this year, they are still spending and traveling. Although it will not be the typical holiday season and a hard one for businesses, they are able to respond well with large discounts.
Sadly, COVID-19 may affect the most important visitor of the holiday season: Santa Claus. What If Media Group found that about 12 percent of parents are telling their children that Santa Claus is unable to come this year, due to COVID. So far, 14 percent of parents are still deciding on what they will tell their children about Santa coming. Hopefully, the pandemic will not get in the way of Santa and his reindeer visiting to spread some holiday joy.
Gottlieb states, "It is just going to be a challenging holiday season, and one in which only the most digitally sophisticated marketers are not only going to survive, but truly thrive."