It wasn’t just the pandemic that pushed more people online. Long before COVID, more shoppers decided to skip the crowds and simply click for their holiday gifts.

And I get it. I hate shopping – especially during the holidays. There’s the hunt for a parking space, the throngs of customers, the long checkout line at stores with 10 lanes but only three cashiers working the registers.

The old phrase “Shop till you drop” has become more like “Shop till you want to scream.”

So it makes sense that for the first time in Gallup’s look at holiday spending trends, a majority of Americans – 56% – say they are very likely to do their Christmas shopping online. That’s up eight percentage points from 2017.

In 1998, when Gallup first asked about online shopping, only 4% of Americans said they were likely to shop via the Internet. Gallup doesn’t ask the question every year.

“The trend since 2017 looks more like just a continuation of the organic growth in people moving their lives online that’s been happening over the past 20 years, rather than a pandemic-driven bump,” Lydia Saad, director of U.S. social research at Gallup, said in an interview.

Americans said they are personally planning to spend an average of $886 on Christmas gifts, according to the Gallup poll. This makes the holiday season prime time for scammers. With online shopping presenting more opportunities for fraudsters, here are some tips to protect yourself online.

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