December 02, 2015

Consumer Spending Expected To Rise This Holiday Season After 2014 Dip

Discover’s Annual Holiday Survey Highlights Digital Divide in Shopping Preferences between Millennials and Non-Millennials

RIVERWOODS, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 2, 2015-- Spending is expected to be on the rise this holiday season, according to Discover’s annual holiday survey. After an 11 percent drop in expected holiday spending from $1,014 in 2013 to $900 in 2014, consumers plan to spend 3 percent more in 2015. Compared to five years ago, when holiday shoppers planned on spending $730 on average, this year’s anticipated spend of $927 represents a 27 percent increase.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here:

View our 2015 Holiday Spending Insights video

When differentiating between millennials and non-millennials, the younger generation is spending more at a faster rate: 43 percent of shoppers between the ages of 18-34 expect to spend more this year than they did last holiday season, compared to 22 percent of shoppers ages 35 and older.

The preferred method of payment for holiday shopping will be with a credit card, as approximately 41 percent of those surveyed will pay with credit, followed by 27 percent using a debit card and 18 percent spending cash. Credit card usage is up 18 percent compared to five years ago when only 23 percent of those surveyed planned on using their credit card most often for holiday shopping.

Both millennials and non-millennials plan to spend similar amounts overall this holiday season—$941 and $926, respectively—however, the Discover survey found stark differences in the two groups’ shopping habits.

Millennials prefer mobile shopping experience more than non-millennials

Millennials are expected to outpace non-millennials more than 2-to-1 this year when it comes to shopping on mobile devices, as 73 percent of millennials surveyed say they will use a smartphone or tablet for holiday shopping, compared to 32 percent of non-millennials. Similarly, 52 percent of millennials say they’ll do most of their holiday shopping online, compared to 42 percent of non-millennials.

When it comes to mobile wallets, 36 percent of millennials surveyed currently use that technology, compared to 15 percent of non-millennials. Among those using a mobile wallet, 80 percent of millennials say they will use it for holiday shopping, compared to 69 percent of non-millennials.

Additional survey findings include:

  • While millennials plan to spend slightly more this season than non-millennials, 66 percent of millennials say they will set a budget for holiday spending, compared to 52 percent of non-millennials.
  • Consumers identified sales/discounts (57 percent), convenience (19 percent) and customer service (13 percent) as the most important factors when shopping at retail stores this holiday season.
  • Consumers are split when asked what type of shopping they plan to do most this year, with 45 percent planning to shop in-store and 46 percent shopping online
  • Credit card rewards continue to be a factor in choosing credit as the preferred method of spending. Of those using credit cards the most this season, 42 percent are doing so in order to earn rewards points

About Discover’s Annual Holiday Survey

The national survey of 1,508 consumers was commissioned by Discover and conducted by Instantly, an independent survey research firm, between October 30 and November 2, 2015. The maximum margin of sampling error was ±3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit

Source: Discover Financial Services

Discover Financial Services
Derek Cuculich, 224-405-0665