Survey: Inflation Has Families Choosing Food Over Gifts

Off the Charts: The Visual Says It All

Senior Couple at Checkout

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Unlike those that earn more, households with lower incomes plan to cut back on presents this holiday season, in some cases budgeting nothing at all—mostly because of rising food costs, a new survey shows. 

Families making under $50,000 plan to cut their holiday spending by 22% on average, paring back to $536 from $688 the year before, according to a survey by consulting firm Deloitte published Wednesday. What’s more, some 11.5% of households—nearly two-thirds of whom (65%) have lower incomes—plan to spend nothing at all, up from 4.9% the year before. Meanwhile, middle- and higher-income households—those making $50,000 and up—plan to increase their spending.

Among the families cutting back on spending, 50% said the rising cost of food was a factor, making it the most commonly cited reason in the survey of 4,315 U.S. consumers, conducted in September. Only 31% said the same last year. The price of food has risen 4.6% over the past year as of September, making it one of the leading contributors to inflation, according to the government’s latest Consumer Price Index report. 

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