Bread’s Holiday Shopping Report 2019

Consumer Insights & Research | 5 mins

The weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter, but the shopping season is starting to heat up. Each year, the holidays get bigger, busier, and more extravagant as retailers compete for a slice of consumers’ budgets. In response, shoppers are getting savvier about how they prepare, how they shop, and how they pay.

Bread wanted to understand how shoppers are preparing their finances for this year’s hectic holiday shopping season with an independent study of nearly 500 US consumers. We found that shoppers are looking to finance an average of $456 this year, with 50% being open to using interest-free installment payments this season, and 54% of shoppers say they would spend more if given this option. Below we’ve collected the 5 major insights from our research to shed some light on how customers save and buy during the Holidays.

About this study
Bread commissioned an independent market research firm to survey 475 US consumers about their holiday shopping, financing, and budgeting plans. The survey was conducted in October 2019 and has a margin of error of +/-4.5% at the 95% confidence level.

1. Shoppers Save Early and Shop Late for the Holidays:

It feels like the Holidays start earlier every year, but according to consumers, most still don’t start shopping until after October. While 86% of shoppers start saving for the Holidays before October, only 22% of Holiday shoppers start shopping before then.

2. Shoppers Often Don’t Stick to a Budget and Expect to Finance 45% of Their Holiday Purchases

The majority of shoppers start saving their money long before the holiday season. However, only a fraction end up sticking to a budget.

As a way to spend responsibly, shoppers are increasingly opting to finance and pay for their holiday purchases over time. Of the over $1,000 consumers expect to spend on average, they anticipate financing nearly half that.

  • While 89% of shoppers set a budget in advance of Holiday shopping, only 23% of shoppers end up faithfully sticking to their Holiday budget.
  • On average, shoppers say they intend to spend $1,007 on their holiday gifts and expenses.
  • Of that amount, they intend to finance $456.

3. Buy Now, Pay Later Options Appeal to Holiday Shoppers

How are Holiday shoppers planning to pay for their purchases while trying to stay within budget? Interest-free installment payments meet consumers’ needs at a time when they have to make an array of purchases. They can help keep shoppers’ credit card balances a little lighter, and prevent them from having to dig too deeply into their savings. After credit cards and cash, more than 1/4 plan to use interest-free installment payments to pay for their seasonal gifts, and half of Holiday shoppers would be open to using them this season.

  • 28% of shoppers plan to pay for their holiday shopping with interest-free installments.
  • 50% of shoppers would be open to using interest-free installment options for their holiday shopping this year.

4. Holiday Shoppers Spend More When Offered Financing

When customers have access installment payments for Holiday shopping, they’re also willing to buy more. Because there’s no interest associated, they can get everything on their list without worrying about paying off pricy fees in the New Year. That’s why more than half of shoppers say they would spend more with access to pay-over-time options. There are even customers who prefer installment payment to a direct discount.

  • 54% of shoppers say they would spend more this Holiday with the option to split up their purchase into interest-free payments.
  • 18% of shoppers say they would end up spending 20% more with the option to split up payments into interest-free installments.
  • 25% of customers would prefer interest-free installments over paying all at once with a 15% discount.


5. Buy Now, Pay Later Options Appeal to Millennial Shoppers the Most

When we break these results by age brackets, we see that Millennials are the ones who find interest-free payments the most compelling. This younger demographic is much more open to trying and relying on alternative payment methods for seasonal purchases. Almost 3/4s of Millennials say they would spend more this Holiday season if offered interest-free installments.

  • 74% of Millennials say they would spend more this holiday season if offered interest-free installments
  • 48% of Gen Xers say they would spend more this holiday season if offered interest-free installments.
  • 36% of Baby Boomers say they would spend more this holiday season if offered interest-free installments.

‘Tis the Season for Financing

As the most wonderful time of the year (to some) approaches, the changes in customer payment preferences that have been ongoing become more prominent. Retailers prepare to win customers’ attention during their busiest season, and shoppers start thinking about how they’re going to pay for all the gifts they need to buy. Shoppers as a whole are becoming more interested in alternative payments, and the Holidays are a time when they’re especially effective. If you’re interested in learning more about how alternative financing can improve your shopping experience during the Holidays, request a demo.

Bread’s Holiday Shopping Infographic

Want to share these stats? Feel free to download and repost this infographic summarizing our Holiday shopping research. You can mention us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.