Millennials Most Likely to Outspend Other Generations This Holiday Season

November 20, 2019

Credit cards are leading payment choice for third consecutive year, according to Discover’s annual Holiday Shopping Survey

RIVERWOODS, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Over a third of millennials plan to spend more money this holiday season compared to last year, and they will likely outspend other generations this gift-giving season, according to Discover’s annual Holiday Shopping Survey.

Millennials say higher income and more people on their shopping list are two reasons for their boost in spending. And they also will overwhelmingly use their mobile devices to shop.

Results from the survey, which polled Generation Z, millennials, Generation X and baby boomers on their previous holiday shopping habits and upcoming plans to purchase, also show:

  • 35 percent of millennials said they would spend more this holiday season than last. Following them are 26 percent of Gen Z, 23 percent of Gen X and 16 percent of baby boomers.
  • 39 percent of millennials plan to spend $750 or more on gifts, followed by 35 percent of baby boomers, 33 percent of Gen X and 11 percent of Gen Z who said they will spend the same amount.
  • 45 percent of millennials said they expected increased income to boost their holiday spending compared to 28 percent of Gen X, 26 percent of baby boomers and 20 percent of Gen Z; meanwhile, 49 percent of millennials reported they have more people to shop for, followed by 43 percent of Gen Z, 37 percent of Gen X and 36 percent of baby boomers.
  • A majority of millennials, 73 percent, will use a mobile device to shop for gifts while 58 percent of Gen X, 48 percent of Gen Z, and 32 percent of baby boomers plan to do the same.

Credit Cards Lead the Way as the Favored Payment Type; Consumers Say Earning Rewards is a Top Consideration When Choosing Card to Use

Credit cards continued to be the favored payment type for the holiday season, a trend that has increased since 2017. In 2019, 42 percent of respondents said they expect to use credit cards for most of their holiday gift purchases, compared to 38 percent in 2018 and 32 percent in 2017.

Of those who plan to use credit cards for the majority of their holiday shopping, 55 percent of respondents said they mostly use credit cards to earn points and rewards.

“Consumers want to get the most for their money when they make purchases, especially as they buy gifts on a holiday budget,” said Shannon Kors, vice president of card rewards and benefits at Discover. “Discover cards are designed to help cardmembers get the most value when they shop this holiday season and throughout the year by earning cash back on every purchase they make.”

Majority of Consumers are Concerned about Identity Theft/Fraud though Gen Z is Significantly Less Concerned

Identity theft and fraud continue to be on shoppers’ minds, as 83 percent of all respondents reported some level of concern about it.

How concerned are you about identity theft/fraud this holiday season?


Gen Z


Gen X


Very concerned






Moderately concerned






Slightly concerned






Not at all concerned






To help protect themselves against fraud, 50 percent of baby boomers, 43 percent of millennials and 39 percent of Gen X use credit cards with built-in security features. However, 32 percent of Gen Z said they do not take any actions to protect themselves from identity theft/fraud, compared to just 11 percent of millennials, 10 percent of Gen X and 8 percent of baby boomers.

For more a full list of Discover cards’ security benefits, go to

To learn more about the survey, click here.

About Discover’s 2019 Holiday Shopping Survey

The national survey of 2,010 U.S. consumers ages 18 and up was commissioned by Discover and conducted by Dynata (formerly Research Now/SSI), an independent survey research firm, between October 21 and October 23, 2019. The maximum margin of sampling error was ±2.18 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence. Generations are defined as: Generation Z, born after 1997; millennials, born between 1981 and 1996; Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980; and Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964.

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 Global Network comprised of 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 around the world. For more information, visit

Media Contact
Derek Cuculich, 224-405-0665
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Source: Discover Financial Services