Retail W Minnesota

Holiday season a merry one for retailers, but new year off to a rough financial start for many consumers

Holiday season merry for retailers, new year a rough one for consumers,ph01
Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, was again a busy place during the holidays.

Retailers enjoyed a strong holiday shopping season last year. But what about consumers? A new report suggests that while retailers woke up happy to start the new year, their consumers did not.

MagnifyMoney recently released its Post Holiday Debt survey, showing that the U.S. consumers on average racked up $1,054 of debt this holiday season. That’s an increase of 5 percent from last year.

Not surprisingly, most consumers who did go into debt put their retail purchases on credit cards. MagnifyMoney reported that 68 percent of shoppers said that credit cards were responsible for their holiday debt, an increase of 8 percentage points from 2016.

The survey also found that 44 percent of shoppers took on more than $1,000 in holiday debt, while 5 percent ended up with more than $5,000 in holiday debt. Half of consumers told MagnifyMoney that it will take more than three months to pay off that spending.

Worst of all? Most shoppers didn’t plan on going into debt. MagnifyMoney reported that 64 percent of those who generated holiday-related debt didn’t plan on it.

Of course, this overspending might be rough on consumers as 2018 begins, but it did allow retailers to close the year on a positive note.

According to the Mastercard SpendingPulse report, holiday sales jumped 4.9 percent this year when compared to 2016. The report traced sales from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24.

Another report, this one published by Customer Growth Partners, said that consumers spent $598 billion during this holiday season. That’s a jump from $565 billion last year.