The Holiday Spending Gender Gap: Men Opt for Credit Cards

By Steven Shaw on 12/11/2013

Personal Finance

The Holiday Spending Gender Gap: Men Opt for Credit Cards


When it comes to holiday spending, it turns out men and women shop differently. Not just in what they buy, but in terms of how they pay for those purchases.

Men are more likely than women to put holiday purchases on a credit card, and they plan to pay for more of their purchases that way than women do. Hopefully they won’t have trouble paying off those bills; while the majority of people of either sex plan to spend $500 or less this holiday season (60.31% of men and 57.73% of women), 16.49% of men plan to spend $1,000 or more, while only 10% of women expect to shell out that much.

That’s according to the results of’s 2013 Holiday Shopping Survey, which found that nearly two-thirds of men surveyed (62.37%) say they plan to use a credit card to pay for at least some of their purchases, while just slightly more than half of women (54.09%) surveyed said the same. Men were more likely than women (42.78% versus 33.19%) to say they will use credit cards for more than half of their holiday purchases.

And 30% of women say they will use credit cards (including store cards) less this holiday season than last, compared to 22% of men.

Putting purchases on credit cards can help you rack up rewards, and they provide more consumer protections than purchases made with cash or debit cards. Of course, the flip side is they can make it easy to overspend and leave cardholders with debt they have to find a way to repay in the new year.

Where We See Eye to Eye

In other ways, men and women are similar in their payment preferences. Roughly the same percentage of female and male respondents — about a quarter of each group — said they would pay for less than 10% of their purchases using debit cards or cash, while about half of each group reported they would pay for more than 50% of their purchases that way.

As for retail or “store” credit cards, the numbers were pretty close when it came to their plans to use those cards to make holiday purchases (18.8% of women versus 15.46% of men). The numbers were also similar when asked about whether they would pay cash for some of their holiday purchases: 59.09% of women said they would, versus 53.09% of men).

The 2013 Holiday Shopping Survey was based on data collected online from 426 US consumers from Nov. 18 -19.

More results from’s 2013 Holiday Shopping Survey can be found here.

Image: Zoonar RF

holiday spending
personal finance