62% of Americans aren’t giving year-end tips or charitable donations, as ‘Tip Fatigue’ hits the holiday season, Achieve survey finds
Pushback against tipping culture and the pressure of high prices are making people less generous this holiday season, according to Achieve
SAN MATEO, Calif., November 16, 2023 — The holiday season is not immune to the recent “tip fatigue” trend, as few Americans plan on dolling out end-of-year cash and gifts to service workers like package carriers, beauticians and housekeepers, according to the results of a new survey by digital personal finance company Achieve.
Achieve’s survey found that 62% of consumers do not plan to give holiday tips or buy gifts for service workers, nor do they plan on making charitable donations to religious institutions or other charities this holiday season. The results come amid a pushback against tipping culture and the ongoing pressure that high prices have put on household balance sheets, leading to few consumers feeling generous this holiday season.
Reaching the tipping point
Tip fatigue — which refers to consumer weariness of the growing number of tip requests, particularly at establishments that recently started using new touch-screen payment terminals — is a likely driver of this consumer sentiment, along with the ongoing challenge of inflation that’s led to higher prices across virtually all consumer goods and services.
“The makers of the cashless payment apps that have proliferated since the pandemic typically earn a cut of the total amount charged to consumers, which creates an incentive for them to include digital tipping in their technology,” said Achieve Co-Founder and Co-CEO Andrew Housser. “Being asked for tips on even the smallest in-person purchases is a presumptuous and annoying trend that’s making people less generous this holiday season.”
The survey was conducted by the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights, a think tank that publishes research and commentary from Achieve’s team of digital personal finance experts. When asked how important it is to give tips and gifts to service workers, 41% said it is not very important or not important at all to them, compared to 28% who said it is extremely or very important. In addition, 40% of respondents said donating to charities during the holidays is unimportant, compared to 29% who believe that it is important.
Among consumers who are giving holiday gifts and tips to service providers or making charitable donations, Achieve found that:
Package delivery drivers and mail carriers are the most frequent recipients of holiday tips. In fact, slightly more respondents plan on tipping their mail and parcel delivery workers (12%) than those who said they will donate to their religious institutions this holiday season (11%).
17% of respondents said they will donate to other types of charities.
56% of individual holiday tips and charitable donations will be less than $50; 24% will be $50-$99; and 20% will be over $100.
So who are consumers spending money on this holiday season? Achieve’s survey found that:
At 44%, spouses and significant others were the most frequently cited gift recipients, followed by adults in respondents’ extended family (38%).
Children also rank high among respondents’ gift recipients, including young kids in respondents’ immediate family (26%) and their extended family (27%), as well as adult children (26%).
Respondents expect to spend the most on children in their immediate and extended family. Among those planning on buying gifts for significant others and children, over half plan on spending $100 or more this year.
15% of respondents do not plan on buying gifts for anyone this holiday season.
When asked to rate the importance of various holiday spending categories, 61% of respondents said giving gifts to family members was extremely or very important to spend money on during the holidays, while 52% share the same sentiment about their main holiday meal. In addition, 64% said gifts for family will be their largest holiday spending category, while 15% expect to spend the most on their main holiday meal.
The data and findings presented are based on an Achieve survey conducted in October 2023 consisting of 1,000 U.S. consumers ages 18 and older, and is representative of Census Bureau benchmarks of the U.S. population for age, gender, race and ethnicity.
About the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights
The Achieve Center for Consumer Insights is a think tank that leverages Achieve’s team of digital personal finance experts to provide a view into the state of consumer finances. In addition to sharing insights gleaned from Achieve’s proprietary data and analytics, the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights publishes in-depth research, bespoke data and thoughtful commentary in support of Achieve’s mission of helping everyday people get on the path to a better financial future.
Achieve, THE digital personal finance company, helps everyday people get on, and stay on, the path to a better financial future. Achieve pairs proprietary data and analytics with personalized support to offer personal loans, home equity loans and debt resolution, along with financial tips and education and a free mobile app, Achieve MoLO (Money Left Over). Achieve has 3,000 dedicated teammates across the country with hubs in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. Achieve is frequently recognized as a Best Place to Work.