LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (WROC) — 59% of New Yorkers — down from 71% a year ago — are somewhat or very excited about the upcoming holiday season according to a new statewide survey of consumers released on Wednesday by the Siena College Research Institute.

While 16% say they are more excited than last year, 41% are less excited. 68% say the holidays will be different but that they cannot be ruined by the virus as the spirit of the season will triumph over the pandemic.

“Over a quarter of New Yorkers are coming into the holiday season saying that no matter how hard they try, the pandemic will take the joy out of the holidays,” SCRI Director, Don Levy said in a statement. “But over two-thirds just won’t let the virus be the Grinch that steals the season this year.”

49% plan to spend under $500 on gifts during this holiday season — similar to last year. Nearly a third — 32%, up from 21% a year ago — plan to spend $1000 or more on holiday gifts. Only 10% plan to increase their spending this year while 38% are going to spend less and 48% plan to spend as they did last year. 38% will conduct at least three-quarters of their holiday spending online this year, doubling last year’s 19%.

“While most New Yorkers are planning to either spend less or hold the line on spending, one in ten are ready for a holiday spending spree as one-third are ready to spend $1000 or more, a figure we haven’t seen since 2007. Only 23% plan to shop locally on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday but nearly half will be shopping online on Cyber Monday this year. We’ve seen online spending grow dramatically since 2008 but today with 19% doing at least half of their shopping online and another 38% doing 75% or more, we’ve hit a new all time high,” Levy said.

41% say that due to the virus, Thanksgiving will be very different this year, while an additional 23% say the holiday will be somewhat different. 41% will be gathering with friends or family that do not live with them but a majority, 52%, will not. Only 14% plan to travel to visit family or friends on Thanksgiving.

Only 14% will attend holiday parties during the rest of the holiday season while 19% plan to host
holiday gatherings this year. 64% say that they are comfortable attending a small holiday party in a home that includes no more than 10 people, but only 10% are comfortable attending a party at a
friend’s home where over the course of the evening more than 50 people drop in.

Half of New Yorkers say that they are comfortable going to an outdoor event at which people celebrate the holidays. Only 16% would be comfortable going to a work party with over 25 people and 26% would attend a gathering at a restaurant at which everyone is seated for the entire event.

“For so many New Yorkers, 2020 has been a difficult year. Today, unfortunately 54% think that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is still to come. But two-thirds have vowed to not let COVID-19 ruin the holidays. Belief in Santa has fallen a bit this year to only 26% after being at or above 30% for nine years. Still, looking to the future, 85% of state residents are hopeful that 2021 will be a better year than 2020 has been,” Levy said.

Full results from Siena College Research Institute: