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36% of Americans Took On Holiday Debt, Averaging $1,249


CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 31, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The holiday season can be a busy time for consumers, from making travel plans to purchasing gifts for loved ones. For some Americans, this can mean spending outside their budget by adding debt to their credit card, using buy now, pay later financing or taking out personal loans.

The newest LendingTree survey found that more than a third of consumers (36%) incurred holiday debt this season, averaging $1,249.

Key findings

  • More consumers took on debt this holiday season than last, though the average amount dropped year over year for the first time since this survey began in 2015. 36% of Americans took on holiday debt this season, up from 31% in 2020. But borrowers owe an average of $1,249, down 10% from $1,381 last season.
  • Parents with children younger than 18 and millennials were most likely to take on holiday debt, at 54% and 50%, respectively. Both groups borrowed an average of $1,462.
  • Nearly 40% of Americans used buy now, pay later financing for holiday gifts this year. This is up slightly from 37% in 2020. This financing was most common among parents with young children (64%), six-figure earners (61%) and millennials (60%).
  • Most holiday borrowers with debt put it on their credit cards (62%). Personal loans also remained a popular choice at 23%, though this was down from 27% in 2020.
  • 82% of those with holiday debt won't pay it off within a month, but nearly 45% will try to consolidate their debt or open a balance transfer credit card. That could be a helpful solution for the 35% of borrowers paying above-average APRs.

“You can't make a meaningful plan to tackle debt unless you know exactly how much money is coming in and going out of your household on a regular basis,” says Matt Schulz, LendingTree's credit card expert. “Once you know that, you can take stock in your spending and shift things around to match your priorities, including freeing up money to pay down debt.”

To view the full report, visit:

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 2,037 U.S. consumers from Dec. 14-20, 2021. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

About LendingTree
LendingTree (NASDAQ: TREE) is the nation's leading online marketplace that connects consumers with the choices they need to be confident in their financial decisions. LendingTree empowers consumers to shop for financial services the same way they would shop for airline tickets or hotel stays, comparing multiple offers from a nationwide network of over 500 partners in one simple search, and can choose the option that best fits their financial needs. Services include mortgage loans, mortgage refinances, auto loans, personal loans, business loans, student loans, insurance, credit cards and more. Through the LendingTree platform, consumers receive free credit scores, credit monitoring and recommendations to improve credit health. LendingTree proactively compares consumers' credit accounts against offers on our network and notifies consumers when there is an opportunity to save money. In short, LendingTree's purpose is to help simplify financial decisions for life's meaningful moments through choice, education and support. LendingTree, LLC is a subsidiary of LendingTree, Inc. For more information, go to, dial 800-555-TREE, like our Facebook page and/or follow us on Twitter @LendingTree

Morgan Lanier

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SOURCE LendingTree

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