Holiday Spending Stats: Who spends the most? |

Holiday spending statistics

‘Tis the season to be spending. New research reveals that more than 211 million Americans plan to shop up a storm this holiday season.

Jen McDermott

by , Consumer Advocate

Gifts, gifts, gifts

Are you planning to shop up a storm on gifts this holiday season? If so, you’re not alone: 86.0% of Americans plan to purchase presents this year.

There’s nothing quite like the holiday spirit. In fact, we plan to spend an average $663.96 each on gifts this year.

Let’s take a closer look …

Interestingly, men plan to spend more on gifts than women this holiday season, sitting at $725.17 compared with $609.49.

When it comes to generations, Gen X plans to spend the most this year at an average of $782.40 each. Up next are millennials at $609.03, followed by baby boomers at $576.39.

Of states that met our sample size, those residing in Massachusetts plan to spend the most this holiday season — an average $1,126.90 each Bay Stater — followed by Texas at $907.10 and New Jersey at $859.12.

How do we plan to pay for these gifts?

Most gift givers (68.9%) will be tapping into their savings to pay for some — or all — of their purchases. More than half (55.9%) will swipe or dip their credit cards, and 6.3% plan to borrow from friends and family to pay for gifts this year. Some 5.5% of those we surveyed will look to the fast cash that comes from a personal loan, and 5.4% will take out a short-term payday loan for holiday spending.

Interestingly, just over 2 in 5 spenders (40.2%) plan to tap into their savings for gifts, while 27.3% will solely rely on their credit cards.


  • Slightly more women than men this year will turn to their savings for gift buying — 69.4% compared with 68.4% respectively.
  • 58.7% of men will pay with credit cards, compared to 53.4% of women who plan to rely on plastic.
  • 4.8% of women said they plan to use a short-term payday loan to pay for gifts this year, compared with 6.0% of men, while 4.9% of women said they’ll take out a personal loan — lower than the 6.2% of men who plan to.
  • Borrowed money from friends or family will contribute to 5.8% of purchases made by women, compared with 6.8% of men’s.
  • A higher proportion of women will solely rely on their savings (42.0%) when compared with men (38.3%), while a higher proportion of men will solely rely on their credit cards (28.9%) when compared to women (25.9%).


  • Spending with savings is the most popular option for all generations, with millennials in the lead at 75.8%, followed by Gen Xers at 70.3% and baby boomers at 62.7%.
  • More than half of all millennials (57.4%) plan to shop up a storm with their plastic this year, closely followed by 55.5% of boomers and 55.4% of Gen Xers.
  • Unsurprisingly, over 1 in 10 millennials (13.7%) plan to borrow money from friends or family for Christmas gifting, followed by 5.8% of Gen Xers and 1.8% of boomers.
  • The younger you are, the higher the chance that you’ll use a loan this holiday season. When it comes to short-term payday loans, 11.8% of millennials will purchase gifts with this quick cash, followed by 5.4% of Gen Xers and 1.1% of baby boomers.
  • As for personal loans, 11.8% of millennials’ will borrow and shop this way, followed by 5.7% of Gen Xers and 1.0% of baby boomers.
  • Baby boomers are most likely to rely solely on their savings (42.4%), followed by Gen X (40.8%) and millennials (36.2%).
  • Boomers are also most likely to rely solely on their credit cards (35.8%), followed by Gen X (24.9%) and millennials (18.6%).

How many Americans will go into debt because of the holidays?

We conducted a poll* of 1,500 Americans and found that more than half (54.60%) expect to have a Christmas debt this year as a result of purchasing gifts, food, decorations, travel and other festive goods. That is an estimated 134 million American adults who will go into debt because of the holidays.

It will take an average of 4.5 months to pay off their Christmas debt.


  • More men (57.43) than women (52.16%) will have a Christmas debt
  • Of these women, the average number of months they expect to take to pay it off is 5.5 months, compared to only 4 months for men


  • 50.31% of Millennials expect to be in the red post-Christmas, with an average of 4.5 months to pay it off.
  • 58.10% of Gen X expect to be in Christmas debt, and they expect to pay it off over 5 months on average.
  • 55.14% of Baby Boomers expect to be in Christmas debt, and the average time they expect to pay it off is 4 months.

How do we compare to our friends in the UK?

Brits plan to spend an average $522.63 (£390.56) each this year on gifts. But we remain the bigger spenders, budgeting $663.96 (£492.69) each.


  • American men plan to spend more than American women at $725.15 — or $115.68 more than women.
  • It’s a similar story for Brits, with men planning to spend $549.78 (£410.85), compared with $499.23 (£373.18) for British women.


  • The cost of Christmas gifting seems to translate overseas, with Gen Xers the biggest spenders in both the US ($782.40) and the UK $568.92 (£425.10). Millennials come in second for both, at $609.03 compared with $557.76 (£416.76) in the UK. Baby boomers are in third place for planned spending, with an average of $576.39 here, compared with $469.33 (£350.68) in the UK.

Region or state

  • The top spending states in America are Massachusetts ($1,126.90), Texas ($907.10) and New Jersey ($859.12).
  • Comparatively, the UK’s biggest spenders are Londoners at $717.75 (£536.29), followed by those in Northern Ireland at $603.92 (£451.25) and Scotland at $559.13 (£417.77).
  • For Americans, those residing in North Carolina plan to spend the least on holiday gifts this year ($370.53), followed by Georgia ($503.25) and Miami ($523.70).
  • In the UK, those residing in the East of England plan to spend the least this year at $393.38 (£293.93), followed by the South East at $463.53 (£311.23) and the East Midlands at $437.61 (£326.98).

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