Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Black Friday: The Holiday Surge in U.S. Consumer Debt and Spending

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist
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 issued2012201320142015
Prior 10 days (Avg.)130,312153,605164,341162,006
Black Friday463,292485,512502,805491,873
Following 10 days (Avg.)167,144181,454182,320181,903
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
Furniture851
Department stores790
Jewelry451
Electronics365
Clothing241

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:
MonthStore Card Balance (5-Year Average)Credit Card Balance (5-year Average)
August$291$1,717
September$293$1,720
October$296$1,709
November$298$1,707
December$313$1,742
January$320$1,756
February$308$1,710
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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