Americans spend 42 hours each on holiday shopping and partying

Consumer Reports News: November 16, 2010 06:08 AM

Ever wonder how much time we devote to celebrating the winter holidays? According to the latest Consumer Reports Holiday Shopping Poll, the average American expects to spend about 42 hours buying, wrapping, and returning gifts, as well as partying and traveling to visit family and friends. 

Here’s a look at how Americans will be spending their time this holiday season:

On Gifts

• Consumers will spend lots of time gift-shopping, 15 hours on average.  Women plan to spend twice as long as their male counterparts, 20 hours versus 10 hours respectively.

• Shoppers expect to wait in store check out lines for about three-and-a-half hours on average; one in four expect to stand in line 4 hours or more.

• Once they get home, Americans plan to spend about 3 hours on average wrapping gifts; one in four expect to spend 4 or more hours doing so.

• Americans anticipate that they will devote about an hour on average to returning holiday gifts; over half say they won’t spend any time making returns.


• About 15 hours on average will be spent attending holiday parties, gatherings or events with friends or family; a quarter (24%) of Americans plan to spend twenty hours or more.

To and Fro

• Americans estimate that they will spend 7.4 hours on average traveling to or from their holiday destinations; a quarter (24%) said they will spend 10 hours or more.

Click here for tips on saving on your holiday shopping. 

Poll Methodology: The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted a telephone survey of a nationally representative probability sample of telephone households. Another 1,015 interviews were completed among adults aged 18+ between November 4 – 7, 2010. The margin of error is +/- 3% points at a 95% confidence level.

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