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The Pulse: Holiday Celebrations

The Pulse of the American Consumer is focused on continued insight into consumer sentiments for businesses across all industries.


As we are in the thick of the holiday season, consumers shared how they have been and will continue to celebrate. From activities they enjoy to put them in the holiday spirit to which types of activities they feel comfortable with related to COVID-19 to travel plans they’ve made, consumers are finding ways to enjoy the holidays this year. In order for businesses to have the most success connecting with their consumers, they have to understand them – what they are interested in, what they need, and how they feel. At ENGINE, we have the real-time pulse of the consumer, today, and always. Throughout 2021, we are offering weekly insights by identifying important data points and trends from the voice of the consumer.


Key Findings as of December 5, 2021:

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The Pulse of the American Consumer v44 pt 1
The Pulse of the American Consumer v44 pt 2

If you would like more information on ENGINE CARAVAN surveys, contact us below:

At ENGINE, we will be keeping up with the pulse of the consumer throughout 2021, and are regularly running our CARAVAN surveys on current social issues. Contact us at caravaninfo@enginegroup.com for more information or for the full CARAVAN survey findings.

This Online CARAVAN® omnibus surveys were conducted on January 8-10, January 15-17, January 22-24, January 29-31, February 5-7, February 12-14,  February 19-21, February 26-28, March 5-7, March 12-14, March 19-21, March 26-28, April 2-4, April 9-11, April 16-18, April 23-25, April 30-May 2, May 7-9, May 14-16, May 21-23, June 2-6, June 11-13, June 18-20, June 25-27, July 9-11, July 16-18, July 23-25, July 30-August 1,  August 6-8, August 13-15, August 20-22, August 27-29, September 10-12, September 17-19, September 24-26, October 1-3, October 8-10, October 15-17, October 22-24, October 29-31, November 5-7, November 12-14, November 19-21, and December 3-5, 2021. Approximately 1,000 adults selected from opt-in panels were surveyed. The results are also weighted to U.S. Census data to be demographically representative.

Written by the CARAVAN team at ENGINE Insights.

The Pulse of the American Consumer

Consumer Insights for Business

2021 continues to fly on by, with the holiday season now officially here. Unfortunately, the arrival of the holiday season has also brought along an unwelcome guest in the form of the Omicron COVID Variant.

Will this impact the holiday plans for Americans? Find out below in this week’s Pulse of the American Consumer.

*Comparisons are made from October 29-31, 2021

86% of Americans plan to celebrate Christmas this year – 39% of which will travel for the holiday. Of those who plan to travel, the most used forms of transportation will include:

  • Car: 88% (+3% change)
  • Plane: 13% (-1% change)
  • Train: 5% (+1% change)
  • Bus: 4% (-1% change)

Still, the impact of COVID-19 remains relevant in celebrating the holidays. Of the 22% of U.S. Adults who plan to change some of their Christmas traditions this year, 85% (+3) say COVID-19 has some impact:

  • 36% A lot (+5% change)
  • 49% A little (-2% change)

To what extent do you agree or disagree with these statements about this holiday season?

Demographic differences are based on Strongly Agree

  • Our country needs the spirit of the holiday season more than ever this year
    • 86% Agree (Net)
    • 49% Strongly Agree
      • 44% Gen Z
      • 50% Millennials
      • 46% Gen X
      • 53% Baby Boomers
  • This holiday season, I am feeling an even deeper sense of gratitude and connection to family and friends than a normal year
    • 77% Agree (Net)
    • 33% Strongly Agree
      • 26% Gen Z
      • 41% Millennials
      • 30% Gen X
      • 32% Baby Boomers
  • Ongoing COVID-19 concerns around the country are having a negative impact on my outlook towards this holiday season
    • 49% Agree (Net)
    • 15% Strongly Agree
      • 15% Gen Z
      • 18% Millennials
      • 14% Gen X
      • 13% Baby Boomers
  • My planning for celebrating this holiday season is still uncertain due to COVID-19 concerns
    • 38% Agree (Net)
    • 13% Strongly Agree
      • 13% Gen Z
      • 17% Millennials
      • 13% Gen X
      • 10% Baby Boomers

Which of these are essential for you to feel ‘the spirit of the holiday season’?

  • 52% Decorating your home
  • 50% Listening to holiday music
  • 49% Watching your favorite holiday themed TV show/smovies
  • 45% Preparing your favorite holiday meals/baking desserts
  • 42% Driving around your neighborhood/local area to look at holiday lights/decorations
  • 31% Consuming classic holiday-themed groceries such as eggnog, candy canes, or fruitcake
  • 30% Attending a holiday party with family/friends
  • 24% Drinking specific holiday/winder-themed non-alcoholic beverages (such as peppermint mochas or hot chocolate)
  • 20% Writing up/mailing actual holiday greeting cards (not over email)
  • 20% Drinking specific holiday/winter-themed alcoholic beverages (Among audlts 21+)
  • 18% Going to a mall/shopping center and simply enjoying the atmosphere
  • 10% Getting a photo taken with Santa
  • 9% Attending holiday-themed shows/pageants

A Brief COVID-19 Update

Which of the following best describes your feelings regarding the recent news about the omicron variant of the coronavirus?

  • 5% – I am panicked
  • 39% I am concerned, but not panicked
  • 30% I am approaching it with caution, but am not overly concerned
  • 26% I am not worried about it

At what capacity level would YOU feel comfortable attending each of these types of venues today?

*Comparisons are made from November 5th-7th, 2021

  • 56% An outdoor arena, such as a baseball, football, or soccer stadium (-5% change)
  • 55% An indoor restaurant/bar/club (-4% change)
  • 50% An indoor recreational space, such as an arcade or bowling alley
  • 49% A movie theater (-1% change)
  • 49% An indoor arena, such as those used for basketball, hockey, or concerts (-2% change)
  • 48% A smaller indoor theater, such as those used for plays or comedy shows