Fifty-two percent of millennials said they are willing to add to their debt, while 49% of Gen Xers and 34% of baby boomers said the same, according to a CreditCards.com survey of 2,571 adults.
Overall, 51% of consumers with debt said the holidays are a good reason to increase their debt, but only 26% of consumers with no debt agreed. For people willing to take on holiday credit card debt, 46% said they would do so to make a family member happy, and 42% said they would do so to satisfy themselves, per the report.
While 50% of men with credit cards are willing to go into credit card debt for the holiday season, only 41% of women said the same. A majority of consumers (57%) plan to contribute more than the minimum monthly payment to pay off their debt, and 38% said they will cut expenses, according to the report.
Do millennials like credit cards, or don't they? That's the question for retailers, and the answer to it continues to flip flop.
The news that millennials are willing to dig themselves deeper into credit card debt contradicts Affirm's findings that 67% of consumers want to avoid holiday debt. In fact, their debt and other financial woes could worsen the holiday season. However, it does fall in line with findings from A.T. Kearney that 30% of Gen Z shoppers have bought something they couldn't afford.
"Credit card debt is easy to get into and hard to get out of — most people in credit card debt have been there for at least a year. You don't want to be paying off Christmas 2019 in 2020 and beyond," CreditCards.com industry analyst Ted Rossman said in a statement.
However, CreditCards.com's survey offers some insight into why millennials are engaging with debt despite coming of age during the Great Recession. Millennials have previously been fearful of owning credit cards, but they're also the most likely to apply — and get rejected for — store credit cards. Despite a general declining trend in store credit cards, retailers continue to launch them, including Lands End, Walmart and Sephora.
It seems that it's particularly hard for consumers not to go the extra mile to please their families, especially their little ones. Per the CreditCards.com report, 65% of parents with children under the age of 18 said they're okay with increasing their credit card debt, and 56% thought that it's fine to do so. Per research from the National Retail Foundation, consumers are looking to spend an average of $1,047.83 during the holidays, up 4% from the previous year; about $658 will go toward loved ones' gifts.