Stockton survey finds higher expenses cheer holiday spending and travel

For Immediate Release
November 21, 2022

Galloway, NJ – Inflation is making the holidays a little less cheerful as many in New Jersey limit gift giving or seasonal travel, according to a Stockton University survey released Monday.

Two-thirds of New Jersey adults surveyed said inflation is affecting their vacation spending a lot (39%) or slightly (27%), and one in three said they will spend less this year than they did a year ago. Almost half (46%) spend the same amount, with only 13% spending more.

Likewise, 42% described their financial situation as worse than a year ago, 41% said it was about the same, and 15% said it was better. How do people deal with higher costs? Almost half (47%) said they spend less on everyday expenses to save more money for Christmas shopping. Fifty-one percent said they didn’t have to save on vacation spending.

The Stockton Survey of 570 New Jersey adults was conducted October 26 through November 15 for the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University and has an error rate of +/-4.1%.

“Inflation has gripped consumers with a grin-like persistence,” said John Froonjian, director of the Hughes Center. “It makes Christmas shopping more difficult, but people will spend less on their daily expenses to keep the spirit of giving.”

According to the survey, adults aged 30 to 49 – the group most likely to be raising children – are particularly challenged by the economy. About three-quarters (76%) said inflation is affecting their spending plans, including 45% who are severely affected. 60 percent said they cut their living expenses to be able to afford the vacation.

About one in four (27%) New Jersey adults plan to travel over the holidays, but most (68%) don’t. 14% said they had to change or cancel their travel plans, and 42% of all respondents said cost influenced their vacation travel decisions. One in five said airline disruptions and concerns about flight cancellations influenced their thinking, and 22% said concerns about COVID-19 influenced their travel decisions.

Of those shopping for the holidays (11% will not make any purchases), 53% plan to shop online via apps on a device or through retailers’ websites, while 30% plan to visit stores in person. In any case, some shoppers are already experiencing shopping frustrations from the pandemic era. One in five said the gift they wanted to buy was out of stock, and one in three have experienced delivery delays, said Alyssa Maurice, a research fellow at the Hughes Center.

One in five shoppers (21%) made an early leap and started shopping in October or earlier, and 22% started earlier this month. 30% are waiting until Thanksgiving or early December to get started, and 6% are waiting until late December to start shopping.

One bright spot for those staying over the holidays is that the majority find there is plenty to do in New Jersey that is affordable and family-friendly. When asked about local recreational opportunities, 57% agreed that there were enough free recreational opportunities and 61% said they were satisfied with affordable recreational opportunities. And 65% said there are enough family-friendly activities where they live.

Still, one in three said they had to forego leisure plans because of the cost, the survey found.

For the full results of the poll, see


The survey of adult New Jersey residents was conducted by the Stockton Polling Institute of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy from October 26 to November 2018. 15, 2022. Stockton University students texted cellphones inviting them to take the online survey, and Opinion Services supplemented the dial-up portion of the fieldwork, which consisted of cellphone and landline calls. Overall, 90% of the interviews were conducted via mobile phones and 10% via landline phones. In terms of mode, 79% was reached by dial-up and 21% by text-to-web. A total of 570 adult residents of New Jersey were interviewed. Both cellular and landline samples consisted of MSG’s Random Digit Dialing (RDD) samples. Data is weighted for variables such as age, race, ethnicity, education level, gender, and region based on data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for New Jersey. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 4.1 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. MOE is higher for subsets.

About the Hughes Center

The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy ( at Stockton University serves as a catalyst for, and promotes, research, analysis, and innovative policy solutions to the economic, social, and cultural issues facing New Jersey civic life of New Jersey Jersey through engagement, education and research. The center is named for the late William J. Hughes, whose distinguished career includes service in the US House of Representatives, Ambassador to Panama, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Stockton. The Hughes Center can be found on YouTube and followed on Facebook @StocktonHughesCenter, Twitter @hughescenter and Instagram @stockton_hughes_center.