Grandparents vs. Parents: Who’s Spending the Most on the Holidays?

They're both planning to spend more than $1,000 on average.
  • Americans plan to spend the equivalent of almost a month’s rent on the holidays in 2018.
  • Holiday spending varies widely among Americans depending on age.
  • Men take on more holiday debt on average than women, according to a GOBankingRates survey.

With Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us, the U.S. is now in the full swing of the winter holiday season — and that means holiday shopping. The National Retail Federation forecasts that holiday retail sales in November and December will total between $717.45 billion and $720.89 billion.

Can Americans afford this level of spending? With the cost of living rising across many American cities, this question is more pertinent than ever in 2018.

Recently, GOBankingRates conducted a survey to determine how much Americans intend to spend on holiday shopping this year. According to the survey results, Americans plan to spend an average of $1,327 on their 2018 holiday shopping. That amount almost equals the national median rent of $1,445 as of June 2018, according to Zillow. Rather more unsettling is the fact that Americans, in the past, have racked up an average holiday debt of $1,141, with more than a quarter of Americans saying they’ve fallen into debt to pay for holiday expenses.

Read on to find out more on how Americans are spending their money this holiday season, with analyses broken down by age and gender.

Holiday Spending by Age

Survey results on how much people are spending on holiday shopping by age revealed some interesting patterns. The age groups that plan to spend the least are, perhaps expected, 18- to 24-year-olds with an average of $644; and, perhaps less expected, 55- to 64-year-olds with an even lower average of $489. Meanwhile, the age group with the highest planned holiday spending is those 65 and older who plan to spend an average of $2,388.

Here’s a full breakdown of planned holiday spending by age:

Holiday Spending by Age
How much do you plan to spend/what is your budget for holiday shopping this year?Average Amount
18 to 24$644
25 to 34$843
35 to 44$1,145
45 to 54$1,321
55 to 64$489
65 and over$2,388

The order of spending from the most to the least by age group goes as follows:

  • No. 1: 65 and over
  • No. 2: 45- to 54-year-olds
  • No. 3: 35- to 44-year-olds
  • No. 4: 25- to 34-year-olds
  • No. 5: 18- to 24-year-olds
  • No. 6: 55- to 64-year-olds

Don’t Miss: 15 Ways to Make Money Off Your Holiday Shopping

Holiday Spending by Gender

When it comes to comparing holiday shopping expenditures by gender, male respondents intend to spend almost twice as much as their female counterparts. On average, women plan to spend about $974 on holiday shopping, while men anticipate spending $1,790.

Here are more results from the survey broken down by gender:

Holiday Spending by Gender
Have you ever fallen into debt to pay for your holiday expenses in the past?NoYesIn the past, how much debt have you racked up in order to pay for your holiday expenses?
Female69%31%$1,478
Male76%24%$1,651

More on Holidays and Saving Money

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Methodology: The GOBankingRates survey posed the following questions to 2,000 Americans: 1) “How do you financially prepare for the holiday season?”; 2) “What are you most dreading when the holiday season hits?”; 3) “How much do you plan to spend/what is your budget for holiday shopping this year?”; 4) “Have you ever fallen into debt to pay for your holiday expenses in the past?”; 5) “In the past, how much debt have you racked up in order to pay for your holiday expenses?”; 6) “What would you do or sacrifice in order to celebrate the holidays this year?”