Survey Shows 47% of Those Laid Off or Furloughed Because of Pandemic Anticipate Holiday Debt

Photo by Oleg Zaicev on

With the COVID-19 pandemic casting a shadow of uncertainty over traditional holiday gatherings and celebrations, many consumers in the U.S. are using their wallets to get into the holiday spirit.

To gauge consumer sentiment about their holiday shopping plans this year, LendingTree surveyed over 1,000 consumers in the U.S. in early October.

Key findings

  • According to survey findings, 1 in 4 (25%) consumers have already finished their holiday shopping. That number rises to 44% of parents with kids under 18, and nearly half (49%) of those with household incomes of $100,000 or more.
  • Those who are expecting holiday shopping debt include 55% of parents and 47% of those who were laid off or furloughed because of the pandemic. Overall, 31% of consumers believe they will incur debt this holiday season.
  • About 6 in 10 (59%) parents will spend more this holiday season than last year, as will 52% of men. 50% of baby boomers and 47% of women expect to spend less this holiday season.
  • Over 1 in 5 (22%) consumers will buy all of their holiday gifts online. In contrast, just 11% will do all of their holiday shopping in a physical store.

Some Americans are ushering in the holiday season early this year, as 1 in 4 consumers have already completed shopping for everyone on their lists. Others, faced with financial challenges related to the coronavirus crisis, are turning to credit cards to help them create a sense of normalcy this holiday season. As a result, many consumers may start the new year digging out of debt.

The COVID-19 pandemic might have played a role, suggested Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst for LendingTree. “Because of the coronavirus relief bill, increased unemployment benefits, and overall reduced spending during the last six months, many Americans have a little more money in their bank accounts today than they otherwise would. It’s possible that some folks have taken advantage of that surplus to do a little early holiday shopping,” Schulz said.

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