1 in 3 Expect to Overspend this Holiday Season

December 1, 2014
Jared Kaltwasser

The holiday shopping season brings the opportunity for great deals, but many Americans struggle to avoid overspending, according to a survey released by Credit Karma and conducted by Qualtrics.

The holiday shopping season brings the opportunity for great deals, but many Americans struggle to avoid overspending, according to a survey released by Credit Karma and conducted by Qualtrics.

The survey found that overall, 35% of respondents believe they overspend on holiday gifts. Women were more likely than men to report that they’ve spent too much (40% versus 30%, respectively).

The survey also helps put in perspective 2 of the biggest storylines of the holiday shopping season: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While the shopping days generate news stories and heavy customer traffic, Credit Karma found the vast majority of Americans stay on the sidelines.

Only 1 in 4 respondents said they plan to actually shop on either day. However, the opposite was true for so-called Millennials, those ages 18-24. Nearly three-quarters — 74% – plan to shop on one of the 2 days. They’re also more proactive, tending to get their holiday shopping done before December.

And while online shopping has been disrupting the business models of many brick-and-mortar stores, it hasn’t disrupted the holiday shopping habits of consumers as much as one might think. Nearly two-thirds of shoppers (65%) said they plan to shop in-store rather than online.

All that shopping might be good for the economy, but Credit Karma found it may not be so good for consumers’ financial health.

Nine percent of women and 5% of men said they expect to max out one or more credit cards when they do their holiday shopping. Nearly 1 in 5 consumers said they went into debt last year to buy holiday gifts. Of those, half said it took them more than 6 months to pay off their debt. About one-third (35%) of those who went into debt last year said they maxed out at least one credit card.

The survey was conducted online Nov. 5-9 among 1,041 adults ages 18 and older.