Survey: 36% of Americans Took on Debt from Holiday Season
wearing a Christmas sweater and working on a laptop

Survey: 36% of Americans Took on Debt from Holiday Season

As we count down the final hours of 2021, it looks as though a number of consumers will be carrying some new debt into 2022. According to a survey by LendingTree, 36% of Americans came away from the holiday shopping season with debt. However, in some good news, the average amount of that debt decreased from last year. In 2021, the average incurred debt load came in at $1,249 compared to $1,381 in 2020. What’s more, the figure is also down from pre-pandemic 2019’s $1,325 and is only a bit above 2018’s $1,230 average. Notably, this 10% decrease was also the first year-over-year drop that the survey has observed since it began in 2015.

Looking closer at the data, Millennials were not only more likely than other generations to have taken on debt this holiday season but also saw a higher average amount. Half of the Millennial respondents said they took on debt, with the average amount coming to $1,444. That’s compared to just 16% of Baby Boomers who reported taking on holiday debt, which averaged $1,078. Meanwhile, at $821, Gen Zers surveyed had the lowest average debt load.

Unfortunately, the vast majority (82%) of those surveyed stated they aren’t likely to pay off their holiday purchases within the next month. As for what will become of the newly-accrued debt, 45% of respondents said they planned to try to consolidate their debt or open a balance transfer credit card in the new year.

Offering advice on paying down holiday debt, LendingTree’s Matt Schulz said, “You can’t make a meaningful plan to tackle debt unless you know exactly how much money is coming in and going out of your household on a regular basis. Once you know that, you can take stock in your spending and shift things around to match your priorities, including freeing up money to pay down debt.”

Elsewhere, as expected, the use of “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) services was on the rise in 2021. In total, 40% of LendingTree survey respondents reported using BNPL platforms to pay for holiday gifts this year. That’s up from 37% last year. Interestingly, the survey also found that 61% of six-figure earners utilized BNPL this year. Once again, Millennials also over-indexed, with 60% of respondents of that generation noting use of buy now, pay later in 2021.

In a perfect world, it would be great to see a holiday season that didn’t result in debt. Yet, all things considered, it’s encouraging enough to see that this year’s average fell — breaking a long-standing trend observed by LendingTree. Furthermore, it sounds as though a number of survey respondents already have a plan in place for managing their debt in the new year and reducing its impact on their finances. Hopefully these plans pay off (no pun intended), helping to lead to a prosperous 2022.

Leave a Reply

The "Email" field is empty, you must enter some text to proceed.The text you entered in the "Email" field appears to be invalid, please edit it and try again
Get the Latest News Delivered to Your Inbox

A Guide to Building Credit and Increasing Your Credit Scores

When it comes to credit, there’s some good news. The average credit score in the United States has been steadily rising in recent years, coming in at 715 in 2023. That may be because, today, consumers not only have more ways to access their credit reports and scores than ever before but also because there are an increasing number of options that Americans have for building credit in the first...

2024 SoFi Checking and Savings Review

Ever since I started taking an interest in the FinTech sector, one company whose name I’ve seen pop up over and over again is SoFi. Lately it seems as though that theme has been sent into overdrive as the company has not only become a household name thanks to its stadium naming rights deal but also because of the company’s continued product expansions. The most interesting development in my mind...
Brim logo

Brim Financial Raises $85 Million as It Eyes Global Expansion

Toronto-based FinTech infrastructure startup Brim Financial has announced a new funding round. About the round: Brim has revealed an $85 million round. The Series C was led by EDC Investments while new investor Vistara Growth and returning investors White Owl Group, Epic Ventures, and Zions Bank also participated. To date, the company has now raised $110 million including a Series B in 2021. According to Brim, the latest funding will...
Chase Freedom Flex card

Chase Reveals Q2 2024 Freedom 5%(+) Bonus Categories

Chase has announced its bonus category picks for the second quarter of 2024 — including some interesting twists. About the categories: As April approaches, Chase has revealed what categories Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn bonuses on. From April 1st through June 30th, customers can earn 5% (or more) in three categories: Amazon.com, Hotels, and Restaurants. Similar to how Chase embraced a "New Year, New Me" theme last quarter,...
Rent Day

Bilt Announces Home Collection Deal for May 2024 Rent Day

For May's Rent Day, Bilt is offering a deal that will allow members to decrease their rent bill while also adding to their home decor. About the Home Collection offer: Bilt has crafted a unique Rent Day offer for May 2024. Through the 1st, when Bilt members redeem their points toward rent payments, they'll receive the same number of points to be used toward Bilt Home Collection items. To take...