Majority of Americans Say 2020 Was the Worst Year of Their Lives

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Head in Hands by Alex E. Proimos is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Now that 2020 has come to a close everyone can breathe a sigh of relief. Or can they? After all, there is no guarantee 2021 will be any better.

What’s clear is that 2020 was not just any average year. In fact a majority – 55% – of Americans say it was the worst year of their life.


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Everyone has a different reason for why 2020 might have been a challenge, but there’s no doubt that the pandemic and work shutdowns as well as worry and stress over loved ones and illness played a major part for many.

What Did the Survey Say?

A survey done by the company OnePoll of 2,000 people showed that while 55% said this has been the worst year of their life, 70% also said the year made them have a greater appreciation for their friends and family than they did previously, including with making them work harder to find thoughtful gifts during the holiday season to show their love.

At the end of the day it’s clear that 2020 has been a dramatic year for almost everyone, from riots and unemployment to political upheaval and confusion. With over 333,000 dead from COVID-related illness it will also go down as the deadliest year in American history.

What Was the Point of the Study?

The OnePoll study was paid for by Groupon and the purpose was to find out how people’s spending habits have changed this year. The results found that a whopping 76% of Americans looked for presents to give their family and friends that would cheer them up and 56% looked for gifts that would be especially useful once lockdowns and quarantines end – which could hopefully be this year.

As the high number of people who traveled at Thanksgiving also showed, there were plenty who’ve been feeling cooped up and wanted to get out and visit friends and family despite the risks of COVID-19, but for some people, the chance to spend more time at home and miss out on some of the usual busy times of the year and stress of going out and traveling was a good thing that they appreciated.

In the survey, 44% of respondents said they were glad that pandemic restrictions made them stay home and not have to travel and 48% said music has been one of the biggest mood boosters for them during these strange months, while for 38% it was a good book that kept them going and helped keep the isolation and depression away.

“Whether they are planning on giving personalized experiences or goods, shoppers are looking for meaningful ways to communicate how much they care. Plus, we’re finding that many people are planning to gift experiences they can do with their loved ones in a post-COVID world,” said Groupon’s Chief Communications Officer Jennifer Beugelmans.

Depression by boskizzi is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Self-Gifting

Another unusual thing the survey showed was that 66% of people bought themselves a present this year when they went shopping instead of just presents for others. There are always those times you’re out and about Christmas shopping or checking for gifts and you see something unexpectedly that’s exactly what you’ve been wanting for yourselves, but this looks like a bit of a different situation.

In fact, the survey showed that people spent an average of $100 each on their self-gifting and 43% of those who self-gifted don’t usually do that. Hopefully there are folks out there feeling a little happier with the gifts they bought themselves this holiday season. There was definitely something a little bit different about 2020.

Well, it’s been a tough year for many of us, and treating yourself to a little extra could be just the way to move forward into 2021 with an extra spring in your step.