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Coinstar Holiday Survey Reports Americans will Reduce Gift Buying but Increase Activities to Enjoy the Season

More than two-thirds of respondents prefer cash or a gift card versus a physical gift

Generosity on the rise with plans to tip service providers and donate to charity
BELLEVUE, Wash. - 
September 30, 2021

The annual Coinstar® Holiday Survey fielded among 2,007 U.S. gift-giving adults reports that the majority (64%) of Americans say the holidays will give them something positive to look forward to this year. Respondents also claim they plan to buy fewer gifts this holiday season and reported feeling stressed due to uncertainty related to the pandemic. Despite these negatives, the survey shows that many Americans will increase activities that create holiday joy.

Top Coinstar Holiday Survey findings:

  • Nearly two in five (39%) say they can’t afford to buy as many gifts this holiday season; more than one-third (34%) of those planning to buy fewer gifts attribute to being out of work or having a lower paying job.
  • Fewer people have holiday budgets; 59% of Americans say they have a holiday budget this year compared to 67% who reported having a holiday budget in pre-pandemic 2019.
  • More than two-thirds (68%) say they would prefer to receive cash or a gift card rather than a physical gift from a close friend or family member.
  • An estimated $123 in spare change at home is reported on average, and more than half (52%) of respondents indicated they are likely to cash in or use their spare change this holiday season. This is an increase from 2019 when the average reported change at home was just over $70.
  • More than one-quarter (28%) say they are likely to regift this holiday season; of those likely to regift, over a quarter say they feel less guilty about re-gifting because of the pandemic.
  • One in eight (13%) say they would not give a gift to a friend or family member who did not share their same views on COVID-19.

Americans Plan to Create More Joy During the Holidays

About one-third (31%) of Americans say they are looking forward to the holiday season more than last year, and they’re not leaving holiday joy to chance. Respondents report that they plan to start or increase the following activities this holiday season: bake holiday treats (80%); drive around to enjoy holiday decorations and lights (77%); attend holiday parties (60%); decorate their workspace or office (45%); participate in caroling with others (32%).

Holidays Bring Out a Giving Spirit

Nearly one-third of Americans (31%) say they will start donating money or their time to charity this holiday season. The same number say they will increase their giving. Service providers such as housekeepers, childcare providers, trash collectors and mail carriers could be recipients of holiday joy with nearly three in five (57%) Americans reporting that they tip their service providers during the holidays.

Survey Methodology

Coinstar commissioned Atomik Research to run an online survey of 2,007 adults in the United States who give gifts to others in observance of a winter holiday. The margin of error is +/- 2 percentage points with a confidence interval of 95 percent.  The fieldwork took place between September 4th and 8th of 2021.

About Coinstar, LLC

Coinstar® is the global leader in self-service coin counting with 23,000 kiosks in North America, Europe, and Japan. More than 800 billion coins have been processed since Coinstar’s inception in the early 1990s. In the United States, consumers can convert their change to cash, a no-fee eGift card, or donate to charity at supermarket, mass merchant, drug store, and financial institution kiosk locations. Expanded cash services at Coinstar® kiosks include purchasing cryptocurrencies and adding money into digital accounts. For brand advertisers, Coinstar now offers adPlanet™, which enables lead generation on the interactive kiosk screen and a flexible digital advertising platform that sits atop Coinstar kiosks at select grocery locations. For more information on Coinstar or kiosk locations, visit


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