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11/16/2021

Younger Consumers Driving Holiday Spending Increase

Discover’s survey also shows that people are making plans to deal with potential supply chain issues
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Younger Consumers Driving Holiday Spending Increase
Discover's annual holiday survey reveals some generational differences.

They’re making their list, checking it twice and not wasting much time knocking things off of it. According to the annual holiday survey conducted by Discover, more than a quarter of Americans are planning to spend more during the holidays this year and 63% say they are starting the week of Thanksgiving.

The credit service company reports that younger consumers are driving a lot of the spending, with 44% of Gen Z buyers and 33% of Millennials expecting to shell out more this season, compared to 26% of the general population polled. Amid a better COVID-19 situation, almost a third (31%) of consumers say they will shop in store this year, up 9% over last year.

Many of those consumers are browsing brick-and-mortar locations out of a different, non-pandemic kind of concern, however. Of those shopping in store, 71% attributed the behavior to worries about shipping delays. A good number – 56% – said if they do have to deal with shipping delays, they will spend more on  smaller gifts so that those on their lists have something to open.

Price and budget are top of mind among shoppers as well during this inflationary period. When asked what they are most stressed about this holiday season, 52% agreed with “not being able to afford gifts” and 36% said “going into debt.”

Stefanie O’Connell Rodriguez, personal finance author and a Discover partner, emphasized consumers’ parallel optimism and caution. “I expect this year’s holiday shopping season to be a busy one as the economy continues to improve. But it doesn’t come without its challenges. We’re seeing consumers factor in delivery timing, potential supply chain issues and earlier shopping as they start to cross off their holiday to-do lists,” she said, adding that credit cards that offer rewards for everyday spending are likely to resonate with shoppers at this time.

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