Black Friday: The Holiday Surge in U.S. Consumer Debt and Spending
Visualizing the surge in U.S. consumer debt and spending
The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.
Next week, Black Friday and Cyber Monday will kick off the start to the U.S. holiday shopping season, during which consumers are expected to spend a total of $655.8 billion this year.
With the average bill coming in at $938.50 for holiday spending, where are people finding the extra cash?
We looked back at the last five years of Equifax data to see how consumer debt correlates to holiday purchases.
There’s Credit In Store
One way consumers take advantage of Black Friday deals is through the issuance of store credit. Specifically, Black Friday traditionally sees a noteworthy surge in signups to private label cards – the kind redeemed at stores like Macy’s.
Each year, roughly half a million Americans are signing up for new accounts on Black Friday:
|Private label cards issued||2012||2013||2014||2015|
|Prior 10 days (Avg.)||130,312||153,605||164,341||162,006|
|Following 10 days (Avg.)||167,144||181,454||182,320||181,903|
Furniture and department stores are among the biggest providers of this type of credit to consumers. Here are the five-year averages by industry for the months of November and December:
|New store credit issued (Nov/Dec)||$ millions|
Charge it, please
This bump in activity doesn’t stop with new signups for store credit. The average balances on store cards and credit cards both jump noticeably in the months following the holiday season:
|Month||Store Card Balance (5-Year Average)||Credit Card Balance (5-year Average)|
Every year is different, but the data always follows the same trend.
Stocking up on Black Friday deals is not cheap, and extra dollars spent eventually make their way onto the credit card statement with the cost of interest added on.
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