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Annual Coinstar Holiday Survey Reports COVID-19 Will Affect Holiday Plans and Gift Giving for Americans

Limited holiday gatherings, reduced gift giving, and virtual gift exchanges are all signs of the time
BELLEVUE, Wash. - 
October 6, 2020

The annual Coinstar® Holiday Survey fielded among 2,009 U.S. adults reports that the COVID-19 pandemic will influence how the majority of Americans will celebrate the holiday season this year. Among those respondents, 40% will not travel to visit relatives nor attend or host holiday gatherings. Despite these changes, nearly one-third (32%) of say they will make the best of the holidays season.

Top Coinstar Holiday Survey findings:

  • Well over half (56%) say COVID-19 will influence how they celebrate the holiday season. Nearly one-third (31%) admit they would skip the holidays this year if it were a viable option
  • Nearly half (49%) of Americans would consider “Christmas in July” 2021 to have in-person holiday gatherings
  • Half (50%) of Americans plan to give fewer gifts this holiday season; 32% attribute to job loss or decreased work, 24% say it’s because they are concerned about the economy
  • 45% will likely cash in or use their spare change this holiday season; respondents with spare change at home report $113 on average in and around their homes 
  • COVID-19 related gifts will fill stockings this year according to respondents; hand sanitizer (40%), face masks (38%), and disinfectant wipes (23%) are among the most popular
  • Two in five (39%) say they will likely donate to charity in lieu of giving a gift to a friend or colleague

Virtual is a new theme for the holidays

 Americans are turning to virtual celebrations as one way to combat COVID-19 during the holidays. According to the Coinstar Holiday Survey, respondents will consider attending a virtual church service (21%), planning a virtual gift exchange among friends or family (19%), and competing in a Zoom-attended tacky holiday sweater contest (12%). Other ways respondents say they will safely enjoy the holidays include driving around neighborhoods to enjoy holiday decorations or lights, making holiday decorations, leaving a snack basket for delivery personnel, and having a bake-off with people in their household.

 What Americans will do with holiday free time

 More time at home during the holidays means more free time. The top three things Americans plan to do with their free time this holiday season is watch movies or a TV series (72%), sleep (48%), and cook or bake (45%). Some will opt for fresh air with 25% saying they will spend time outside. The least favorite way to spend free time as reported by the survey include catching up on school- or job-related work (11%) and taking an online class (9%).

 Survey Methodology

Coinstar commissioned Atomik Research to run an online survey of 2,009 adults in the United States who typically give gifts to others in observance of a winter holiday. The margin of error fell within +/- 2 percentage points with a confidence interval of 95 percent. The fieldwork took place between September 10 and 13, 2020.  Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency.

About Coinstar, LLC

 Based in Bellevue, Wash., Coinstar owns and operates the largest fully automated, multi-national network of self-service coin counting kiosks. With more than 22,000 kiosk locations, Coinstar provides convenient and reliable coin counting and cash services at mass merchants, grocery and drug stores and financial institutions. Consumer solutions include coin-to-cash, coin-to-eGift card, charity donation options, and Bitcoin purchase with cash. For kiosk locations and information, visit


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 Media Inquiries
Marci Housley
Mpact Group
[email protected]