2023 Holiday Spending Report

To understand what Gen Z are prioritizing when it comes to gift giving, holiday splurges and treat-yourself-gifts, we surveyed 1,000 young people this month. And here's the results...

A a happy holiday banner image for Cleo's 2023 Holiday Spending Report

As we near the end of 2023, the highest spending period of the year is here. For young Americans still grappling with high living costs, from the price of gas to essentials like groceries and rent, Gen Z are being forced to make tough decisions over the holiday season. 

To understand what Gen Z are prioritizing when it comes to gift giving, holiday splurges and treat-yourself-gifts, Cleo conducted a survey to 1,000 Gen Z Americans in November 2023. 

Gen-Z is still feeling festive

  • Cashless Gen Z’ers would rather spend Christmas alone than rack up debt (though they won’t forgo their Taylor Swift tickets!)
  • Almost half of Gen Z (48%) would even skip social events to keep their finances on track into the new year. 
  • However, despite the risk of spending all of January in debt, almost half of the FOMO-generation (48%) said they would not sacrifice Taylor Swift concert tickets over clearing their debt.
  • The data also revealed the other priorities that come over financial stability such as Uber (53%), beauty and hair appointments (52%) and Starbucks hot drinks (43%).
  • More and more Gen Zers are turning to risky techniques to manage their money and half of Gen Zers said they will use high interest credit cards or buy now pay later (BNPL) services to get through this holiday season. 
  • More than a third (39%) intend to dip into their savings to survive from Thanksgiving to the New Year. 
  • 50% of survey respondents are open to getting financial guidance from an AI such as Cleo, which aims to make personal finance as easy as texting a friend. 

Where does Gen Z spend their disposable budget during the festive season? 

Other new data published today by Cleo shows the top ten areas where Gen Z spend their disposable income during the festive season. This data is based on December 2022 average spend by Cleo users. 

Coming in first is travel, including accommodation and airlines, indicating why the survey revealed this would be the first spend Gen Z would give up to save holiday debt. 

Second are buy now pay later purchases, not surprising as more and more Gen Zers are turning to these methods to manage their festive spending habits. 

Phone, internet and streaming bills to stay connected to friends and family, or have a cozy night in, are important. As is prioritizing a low-key holiday season to save those dollars. 

Top ten areas where Gen Z blow their budgets during the festive season*: 

  1. Travel (accommodation and airlines)
  2. Buy now pay later (BNPL)
  3. Phone, internet and streaming bills
  4. Rideshare apps
  5. Essentials, such as groceries
  6. Fashion and apparel
  7. Food delivery
  8. Public transportation
  9. Gas
  10. Entertainment

*Cleo data is based on the average user spend in December 2022.

Need to know where your money is going? Download Cleo for free on the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

Still have questions? Find answers below.
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