Spending on the rise for holidays in 2022

A Credit Karma study based on Mint data

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Mint user data provided to Credit Karma shows people spending more on shopping for what might be considered nonessentials this November than last. Yet the number of transactions was down year over year, according to Mint’s user data survey. This suggests that costs are up or that people are making fewer trips to the store or online shop — or perhaps both.

Mint provided November 2022 spending data for 391,036 Americans. The data were focused on Mint’s shopping category, which includes purchases of books, electronics, software, hobby materials or activities, sporting goods and clothing.

Mint data confirm that spending in this broad category of shopping ticked up in November 2022, rising 5.17% above October levels and up 9.10% compared to November last year. Spending rose steadily from week to week in November 2022, with the highest average spend in the week beginning Nov. 28.

Black Friday was on Nov. 25 this year, followed by Cyber Monday on Nov. 28, which may help explain the spending pattern.

Average spending on shopping in November 2022, by week

WeekAverage amount spent
(Mint data, shopping category)
Nov. 7, 2022$279.60
Nov. 14, 2022$272.80
Nov. 21, 2022$280.50
Nov. 28, 2022$313.90

Another explanation for spending on shopping picking up through November? In Credit Karma’s September 2022 survey on holiday spending, 33% of those polled at the time said they planned to begin their holiday shopping in November, with another 8% angling to pick up presents in December.

Read on to learn more.

Are people spending more on ‘shopping’ during the holidays in 2022?

Yes — looking specifically at clothing, electronics and software, sporting goods, hobbies and books, Mint users spent more in the Mint shopping category in November 2022 than in November 2021. This may change by the end of December, but so far people are spending more on these types of items during the holidays in 2022.

Spending was up for the Mint shopping category overall, and for sub-categories like clothes, electronics, etc.

Holiday shopping spend by category: November 2021 versus November 2022

CategoryAverage amount spent: November 2021Average amount spent: November 2022Difference: November 21 and November 22Percent change: November 2021 to November 2022
Total shopping$837.00$913.20$76.209.10%
Clothing$290.90$314.90$24.008.25%
Electronics and software$158.50$170.30$11.807.44%
Sporting goods$177.80$165.90-$11.90-6.69%
Hobbies$89.30$108.30$19.0021.28%
Books$40.00$43.80$3.809.50%

According to Mint data, Americans spent 6.69% less on sporting goods on average in November 2022 compared to November 2021 (sporting goods experienced the greatest percent decrease in money spent among all shopping categories). Hobbies saw the largest increase in average spending year over year with a 21.28% percent change, a plus-$19 difference. People on average spent the most on clothes in comparison to other shopping categories.

Change in average spending on shopping: November 2021 to November 2022

Note that the median amount spent on shopping in November 2022 was only $531.90, which is $381.30 less than the average. That means that certain individuals spent significantly more than the average, causing the overall average to be pulled upwards.

Holiday spending on shopping by generation

In November 2022, Gen X spent the most on average in the shopping category when compared to other generations. Gen Xers spent an average of $1,127.61. Meanwhile, the Silent Generation and Gen Z spent the least, averaging $586.24 and $608.94 respectively.

Holiday shopping spend by generation

GenerationAverage spent on shopping: November 2021Average spent on shopping: November 2022Difference: November 21 and November 22Percent change: November 21 to November 22
Silent$491.00$586.24$9519.40%
Baby Boomer$782.00$856.51$759.53%
Gen X$1,057.00$1,127.61$716.68%
Millennial$848.00$929.48$819.61%
Gen Z$543.00$608.94$6612.14%

Although Gen Xers spent the most in terms of raw cash in November 2022, the Silent Generation increased their average spending the most year over year on shopping for things like electronics, books, clothing, sporting goods and hobbies. On average, members of the Silent Generation spent 19.40% more in November 2022 compared to last year.

Holiday spending on shopping by income

According to Mint data, the average amount spent on shopping overall increases as income rises. This has held true over the last year.

It’s logical that, generally, those who have more money may spend more, and that people with higher incomes may have more capacity to shop for nonessentials even when inflation is pronounced.

Change in average spend on shopping from November 2021 to November 2022, by income

blackfridaylinesincomeImage: blackfridaylinesincome

But, interestingly, the lowest income-bracket data saw the greatest percent change in average amount spent on shopping.

People making between $10,000 and $25,000 spent 24.02% more compared to last year — and those in the highest income category in this study only spent an average of 2.84% more year over year. Again, this increase could be more pronounced because of inflation, which may significantly drive up amounts spent even if folks are buying fewer things.

Holiday shopping spend by income

IncomeAverage spent on shopping: November 2021Average spent on shopping: November 2022Difference: November 2021 and November 2022Percent change: November 2021 to November 2022
10k–25K$384.00$476.23$9224.02%
25k–50k$534.00$601.91$6812.72%
50k–75k$744.00$805.80$628.31%
75k–100k$957.00$1,001.30$444.63%
100k–125k$1,202.00$1,208.09$60.51%
125k–150k$1,427.00$1,670.44$24317.06%
150k–200k$1,794.00$1,844.95$512.84%

Holiday spending on shopping by debt-to-income ratio

Debt-to-income ratio is a measure of how much you earn compared to how much you owe. A higher debt-to-income ratio means that you have more debt as a percentage of your income. For example, a debt-to-income ratio of 33% means that it would take 33% of your income to pay off your debts. A debt-to-income ratio above 100% means that you owe more than you make.

This ratio can be even more helpful than debt or income alone when trying to understand patterns in financial behavior. A $500,000 debt seems huge, but it’s not that big of a deal if you make $100 million per year — your debt-to-income ratio would be a measly 0.5%.

As with other measures, spending is up year over year across all debt-to-income ratio groups among Mint users.

Holiday shopping spend by debt-to-income ratio

Debt-to-income ratioAverage spent on shopping: November 2021Average spent on shopping: November 2022Difference: November 2021 and November 22Percent change: November 21 to November 22
0%–20%$855.00$917.12$62.127.27%
20%–50%$766.00$826.00$60.007.83%
50%–75%$736.00$771.76$35.764.86%
75%–100%$867.00$963.22$96.2211.10%
100%$682.00$737.52$55.528.14%

Generally, spending on shopping in November was higher for folks with lower debt-to-income ratios — with an out-of-trend spike for the individuals in the 75% to 100% group. The explanation may be that this group has more income available to spend on extras like holiday shopping on top of servicing debts.

Holiday spending on shopping by credit score

Much like income, there was an apparent positive correlation between higher credit scores and amount spent in the Mint shopping category during the holidays. As credit score ranges increase, so does the dollar amount spent on shopping in November among Mint users.

Change in average spend on shopping from November 2021 to November 2022, by credit score range

blackfridaylinesscoresImage: blackfridaylinesscores

Interestingly, there’s a trough in spending on shopping for the highest credit score range around January and February 2021, which is also when spending peaks for the lowest credit score range.

Spending on November shopping was up year over year across all score ranges.

Holiday shopping spend by credit score

Credit score rangesAverage spent on shopping: November 2021Average spent on shopping: November 22Difference: November 2021 and November 2022Percent change: November 2021 to November 2022
300–600$685$721.52$375.33%
601–660$804$858.42$546.77%
661–780$857$938.87$829.55%
781–850$1,036$1,114.63$797.59%

Holiday spending on shopping by state

Colorado on average spent the most on shopping in November 2022, while Vermont spent the least. Coloradans racked up an average of $1,369.96 in shopping charges; Vermonters averaged $678.71.

Check out the top five states by amount spent on shopping in November 2022.

Greatest average spend in Mint’s shopping category: Top 5 states

RankStateAverage spent in Mint shopping category, November 2022Difference: November 2021 and November 2022Percent change: November 2021 to November 2022
1Colorado$1,369.96$528.7262.85%
2Utah$1,060.93$11.9311.79%
3District of Columbia$1,039.07$197.3423.44%
4Alaska$1,013.67$88.969.62%
5Washington$991.73$17.141.76%

Besides having the highest average spending in Mint’s shopping category, Colorado also stands out because it had the highest year-over-year percent change in spending on shopping. Individuals averaged a whopping 62.85% increase compared to the same period last year — spending $528.72 more on average than in November 2021.

Some states had high average spend compared to others in November 2022, but their average amount spent in Mint’s shopping category didn’t actually go up that much. For example, Alaska and Washington both had pretty minimal year-over-year increases in average spending.

Here are the five states with the largest percent increases year-over-year in average overall spending in Mint’s shopping category.

Greatest percent increase in spend in Mint’s shopping category: Top 5 states

RankStateAverage spent in Mint shopping category, November 2022Difference: November 2021 and November 2022Percent change: November 2021 to November 2022
1Colorado$1,369.96$528.7262.85%
2South Dakota$891.67$177.6624.88%
3Maine$891.62$172.7024.02%
4Montana$834.69$160.3223.77%
5District of Columbia$1,039.07$197.3423.44%

Check out the bottom five states by amount spent on shopping in November 2022, with No. 1 being the state with the lowest average spent:

Greatest percent decrease in spend in Mint’s shopping category by state

RankStateAverage spent in Mint shopping category, November 2022Difference: November 2021 and November 2022Percent change: November 2021 to November 2022
1Vermont$678.71-$79.10-10.44%
2Connecticut$795.62-$8.26-1.03%
3New Hampshire$802.07-$49.53-5.82%
4Rhode Island$816.20$14.591.82%
5Oregon$819.30$60.187.93%

Note that despite being in the bottom five by dollar amount, Rhode Island and Oregon saw an increase in the amount spent on shopping year over year.

In three states, shoppers spent less than they did last year, with the largest drop of 10.44% (equivalent to about $79) seen in Vermont. Connecticut and New Hampshire also experienced similar, smaller decreases in spending. No other states saw decreases in average spending.

This map shows the difference in amount spent on shopping in November 2022 compared to November 2021. Positive values point to an increase in average spending, while negative values indicate a decrease. Additionally, each state shows the percent change in average spending year-over-year.

November 2021 vs. November 2022: Percent change and raw total difference in average amount spent on shopping

It seems like increases in the average amount spent on shopping in November were clustered around Plains and Mountain states. Smaller increases or decreases were more typical in the Northeast.

Median spend on Mint’s shopping category by state

Because some of the state data for average spend on Mint’s shopping category were so dramatic, it’s important to examine the median as well. Median looks at the center point of a dataset — half the datapoints are larger and half are smaller. This means it’s less likely to be influenced by outsized spending by a few individuals.

When looking at overall median spending on Mint’s shopping category, Colorado isn’t even in the top 10 for amount spent or percent change increase. Take a look at the five states with the highest median spending on Mint’s shopping category in November 2022:

States with the highest median spending in Mint’s shopping category, November 2022

RankStateMedian spent on Mint shopping category November 2022Difference: November 2021 and November 2022Percent change: November 2021 to November 2022
1Utah$660.20$118.0921.78%
2Alaska$637.16$53.109.09%
3Arizona$628.04$129.4025.95%
4Nebraska$624.96$160.7934.64%
5North Dakota$596.91$126.3626.85%

While Utah and Alaska remain in the top five in terms of spending, the other states have been replaced using median as a metric.

Interestingly, these five states don’t represent the largest increases in median year-over-year spending in Mint’s shopping category. In fact, Alaska only saw a 9.1% increase in median spending.

South Dakota had the biggest increase in median spending in Mint’s shopping category compared to November 2021. It went up by 39.03%. South Dakota was just edged out of top five states with the highest median spending in November 2022 with a median spend of $595.56.

Here are the five states with the largest percent increase in November spending in the Mint shopping category compared to last year.

States with greatest percent median spending increase year-over-year in Mint’s shopping category

RankStateMedian spent in Mint shopping category, November 2022Difference: November 2021 and November 2022Percent change: November 2021 to November 2022
1South Dakota$595.56$167.1939.03%
2Nebraska$624.96$160.7934.64%
3Maine$495.84$117.7531.14%
4Montana$520.95$123.2430.99%
5Hawaii$539.48$116.4027.51%

Vermont had the lowest median spending on Mint’s shopping category in November 2022. Vermonters spent a median of $380.64.

Check out the five states with the lowest median spending on shopping in November 2022:

States with least percent median spending increase year-over-year in Mint’s shopping category

RankStateMedian spent in Mint shopping category, November 2022Difference: November 2021 and November 2022Percent change: November 2021 to November 2022
1Vermont$380.64$38.6411.30%
2Delaware$404.90-$6.49-1.58%
3Pennsylvania$443.65$4.130.94%
4Oregon$463.65$41.339.79%
5New Hampshire$464.03-$6.18-1.31%

You’ll note that two of the five states with the lowest median spending saw percent change decreases in spending. Both Delaware and New Hampshire experienced drops in median spend year-over-year.

Only one other state had a decrease in median spending compared to November 2021: the District of Columbia. D.C. had a 5.85% decrease, which is interesting because it also was among the top five states with the largest increases in average spending.

This means that there were likely some Mint users who spent way more in November 2022, making the average disproportionately higher. As with Colorado in this study, the median (not the average) helps paint a more accurate picture of what spending is like for the typical DC resident.

Tips for managing holiday spending and debt

Holiday shopping might be in full swing from November on, but it’s not too late to think about how you can best manage your finances when it comes to holiday spending and debt.

Frequently asked questions

How much do Americans plan to spend on the holidays on average?

Credit Karma doesn’t have this data, but a September 2022 survey conducted by Qualtrics on behalf of Credit Karma found that 69% of Americans expect to go into debt this holiday season. Up to 2% of survey respondents said they were expecting to take on $5,000 or more in debt.
 
According to Mint data from 2021, Mint members spent on average $1,803.10 on shopping between November and December. For November 2022, Mint customers have already spent an average of $913.20 on shopping, $76 more than the $837 spent on average in November 2021. That might mean that Americans are on track to spend more in 2022.
 
Note: Mint defines the shopping category to include purchases of clothing, books, sporting goods, software and electronics. It also includes spending on hobbies.

Did consumers spend more in the latter half of 2021 or 2022?

According to Mint customer data, people are on track to spend more on shopping for what might be considered nonessentials from June through November 2022 ($5,220 on average) compared to the same period in 2021 ($4,496).

Methodology

Mint provided aggregated data on 391,036 of its customers on December 7, 2022. The data pertained only to the shopping category and its constituent sub-categories of books, sporting goods, software and electronics, and hobbies.

For this study’s purposes, the District of Columbia is considered a state.


About the author: Gaby Lapera is a researcher and writer at Credit Karma and a personal finance expert. She also spends time working on investing and science communication. Gaby graduated with a master's degree in biological anthropolo… Read more.