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Think tank ‘s Survey Reveals Consumer Spending Habits


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As the holiday season approaches, Achieve, a leader in digital personal finance, unveils key findings from its 2023 Season of Spending survey, shedding light on American consumers’ financial behaviors during this festive period.

The survey, conducted by the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights, a prominent think tank, explores how consumers approach holiday spending, manage debt, and implement financial strategies. This comprehensive article delves into the survey’s noteworthy revelations, providing insights into the financial landscape that shapes the 2023 holiday season.


Consumer Sentiments on Holiday Debt:

According to Achieve’s survey, a significant proportion of American consumers – precisely 50% – anticipate taking on debt to fund their holiday expenses. Notably, 37% of respondents believe it will take them two months or more to pay off their holiday bills. These insights underline the financial challenges individuals face during the holiday season and the extended timeline required for debt repayment.


Strategies for Managing Holiday Expenses:

The survey examines the various approaches consumers adopt to cope with holiday expenses. Over half of respondents employ savings strategies, while a smaller percentage relies on earning additional income during the festive period. Notably, building a stockpile of cash at home emerges as the most popular savings approach. Achieve Co-Founder and Co-CEO Andrew Housser emphasizes the benefits of establishing a holiday spending budget and saving cash, citing research that highlights reduced spending when using cash compared to credit cards.


Staying on Budget: Comparisons with 2022:

Achieve’s findings reveal that 69% of respondents spent about as much as initially planned during the 2022 holiday season. Conversely, 14% exceeded their budgets. Looking ahead to 2023, 74% believe they will stay on budget, with only 9% anticipating going over budget. The survey establishes a correlation between respondents’ expectations for 2023 and their ability to stay on track in the previous year.


Factors Influencing Budget Adherence:

Consumers’ ability to adhere to holiday spending budgets is influenced by several factors. Achieve’s survey identifies the most critical factors, including the ability to find good deals for gifts (51%), avoiding excess gift purchases (33%), and earning sufficient income during the holiday season (26%). On the flip side, impediments to budget adherence include impulse shopping for others (16%), pressure to create a memorable holiday experience (14%), and a sense of obligation to buy gifts (12%).


Preferred Payment Methods:

The survey explores the payment methods consumers intend to use for holiday purchases. Notably, 37% of respondents plan to use debit cards and checks connected to their primary bank accounts, while 20% prioritize using cash. This indicates a collective effort to rely on money on hand before resorting to debt. However, 34% primarily rely on credit cards, with 4% opting for buy now, pay later (BNPL) financing. Overall, 76% of consumers expect to use at least two payment methods for holiday purchases.


Income Disparities in Payment Preferences:

Achieve’s survey highlights income-dependent disparities in payment preferences. Respondents with household incomes exceeding $50,000 are notably more likely to primarily use credit cards. This insight sheds light on how income levels influence individuals’ choices in managing holiday expenses.



As the holiday season unfolds, Achieve’s Season of Spending survey provides valuable insights into the financial landscape of American consumers. The survey’s revelations on debt expectations, savings strategies, budget adherence, and payment methods offer a comprehensive view of the financial dynamics shaping the 2023 holiday season. These insights can guide individuals in making informed financial decisions, ensuring a more mindful and financially responsible approach to holiday spending.

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