Special foods and overeating may be synonymous with the holidays, but this year, PYMNTS research shows, the additional cost of groceries alongside an increase in the number of consumers living on tight budgets is leading to supermarkets emerging as the season’s big winners.

Where prior years have seen traditional in-demand gifts and gadgets topping consumers’ shopping lists, in 2022, the high cost of food has absorbed what little slack remained, making the practice, or even necessity, of gifting groceries a reality for many households that are buying only essentials.

The data supports the idea that foodstuffs — not regular stuff — is where people’s hearts and wallets are focused this year. The study “New Reality Check: The Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report: Holiday Shopping Edition,” a PYMNTS and LendingClub collaboration, found that 15 million Americans who bought holiday gifts last year are sitting out gifting altogether in 2022.

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