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About one in three American shoppers took on more debt over the holidays, ahead of $1,249 on average after using credit cards, taking out personal loans or using buy now, pay later financing to buy gifts. According to the latest LendingTree survey, 36% of Americans have taken on debt this holiday season compared to 31% in 2020; however, the average holiday debt due for 2021 is down 10% from $1,381 last year.
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MarketWatch noted that those struggling financially due to the pandemic may not be willing to borrow as much as they usually would. A previous LendingTree survey found that people “dread” the holiday season due to pressure to spend more. About 41% of respondents expected to take on debt and 13% of respondents were still repaying debt from last year.
“There’s a real divide in how Americans feel financially right now,” says Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree. “The pressure on parents from children, friends, loved ones and society at large to give ’til it hurts over the holidays is very real.”
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Parents of children under 18 were more likely to take on debt (54%) and 50% of millennials said they had accumulated more debt in December. Millennials and parents borrowed an average of $1,462 for the holidays.
“Millennials aren’t college kids anymore,” Schulz added. “A lot of people are getting married and having families, and those things are very expensive. When you factor in inflation, it’s an even bigger problem.
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