New York: Holiday season spending is expected to rise this year versus last year, though the increase among middle-income shoppers is forecast to be far smaller due to the impact of student loans and lower wage growth.
Overall, shoppers are predicted to spend an average of $1,652, up 14 per cent from last year, according to a Deloitte survey of 4,330 US adults conducted in late August and early September. Shoppers with yearly household incomes between $50,000 and $99,999 expect to spend 26 per cent more this year, or about $1,534. And those who earn $200,000 or more expect their holiday spending to increase 22 per cent to $3,922.
Americans with yearly household income between $100,000 and $199,999 only plan to spend about 2 per cent more this year, or $2,167, as college debt loads - coupled with a lack of real wage growth - makes this demographic less optimistic about holiday spending.
“This is the group that likely is going to feel the shift from student debt coming back more than the other income groups,” said Brian McCarthy, a Deloitte principal and one of the report’s authors. Along with a stagnant housing market, this makes them “the most burdened right now,” he added.
Of those who have student loans to pay back across all income groups, nearly half of them plan to curb their holiday expenditures, the study showed.
Meanwhile, a bigger chunk of shoppers are concerned with getting a deal. Two-thirds say they will shop during Thanksgiving week, which includes Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That compares with 49 per cent in 2022.