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LendingTree Holiday Spending Report

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Jewelry and watches were at the top of last-minute shoppers’ lists in 2020, according to new LendingTree data from more than 34,000 anonymized transactions. Here’s a deeper look at what else these last-minute shoppers were buying — and how much they were spending — as well as what topped lists last holiday season, before the global coronavirus crisis.

A previous LendingTree survey found 47% of shoppers were planning to use a credit card for 2020 holiday purchases. Borrowers struggling with holiday debt can consider a debt consolidation loan to pay it off with — possibly — better terms.

Key findings


  • Jewelers and watchmakers saw the biggest customer increase from last-minute (Dec. 23 and Dec. 24) holiday shoppers. The number of jewelry and watch shoppers was 76% higher during the two-day period compared to the monthly average. Up next was the number of toy shoppers (50% higher).


  • The number of last-minute sporting goods and toy shoppers were 194% and 193% higher, respectively, during Dec. 23 and Dec. 24 compared to the monthly average, the highest among the categories we examined.


  • Not only did jewelers and watchmakers see the biggest customer increase, but they also saw the largest average spending amounts amid the last-minute gift-buying rush. On Dec 23. and Dec. 24, the average jewelry and watch shopper spent $193. Up next was automotive shoppers with an average spend of $167.


  • On Dec. 23 and Dec. 24, the average outlet store shopper spent $266 — the highest among the categories. Following was jewelry and watch shoppers, who spent an average of $231 during the same period.


  • Compared to average spending in December, the biggest spending increase among last-minute shoppers was on sporting goods. The average spend at sporting goods stores on Dec 23, and Dec. 24 was $151, 25% more than the December average of $120. In second was photo and frames shops, where last-minute spending was up 24%.


  • The average spend at florists on Dec. 23 and 24 was $219, 126% higher than the usual December spend of $97 — and tops on our list. Second was outlet stores, where shopping over the two-day period was 90% higher than the December average.
Biggest holiday shopping days: 2020
Date Day of the week Percentage change Date Day of the week Percentage change
Dec. 1 Tuesday 8% Dec. 13 Sunday 9%
Dec. 2 Wednesday 6% Dec. 14 Monday -2%
Dec. 3 Thursday 1% Dec. 15 Tuesday -3%
Dec. 4 Friday 3% Dec. 16 Wednesday -4%
Dec. 5 Saturday -3% Dec. 17 Thursday -8%
Dec. 6 Sunday -4% Dec. 18 Friday -1%
Dec. 7 Monday 0% Dec. 19 Saturday -5%
Dec. 8 Tuesday -7% Dec. 20 Sunday 4%
Dec. 9 Wednesday -10% Dec. 21 Monday 2%
Dec. 10 Thursday -10% Dec. 22 Tuesday 1%
Dec. 11 Friday -2% Dec. 23 Wednesday 7%
Dec. 12 Saturday 8% Dec. 24 Thursday 18%

Source:; the figures indicate the number of shoppers that day, compared to the average in December 2020 on that day of the week.


  • The number of shoppers on Dec. 24 (a Thursday) was up 18% compared to the other Thursdays that month — the highest of any December day. Dec. 13 (a Sunday) was the second busiest day relative to other Sundays, when shopping was 9% higher.
Biggest holiday shopping days: 2019
Date Day of the week Percentage change Date Day of the week Percentage change
Dec. 1 Sunday 4% Dec. 13 Friday -3%
Dec. 2 Monday -1% Dec. 14 Saturday -1%
Dec. 3 Tuesday -3% Dec. 15 Sunday -4%
Dec. 4 Wednesday 1% Dec. 16 Monday 1%
Dec. 5 Thursday -2% Dec. 17 Tuesday -2%
Dec. 6 Friday -6% Dec. 18 Wednesday 6%
Dec. 7 Saturday -3% Dec. 19 Thursday 7%
Dec. 8 Sunday -8% Dec. 20 Friday 8%
Dec. 9 Monday -10% Dec. 21 Saturday 3%
Dec. 10 Tuesday -15% Dec. 22 Sunday 8%
Dec. 11 Wednesday -7% Dec. 23 Monday 10%
Dec. 12 Thursday -5% Dec. 24 Tuesday 20%

Source:; the figures indicate the number of shoppers that day, compared to the average in December 2019 on that day of the week.


  • The busiest shopping day in December was Dec. 24 (a Tuesday), when shopping was up 20% relative to other Tuesdays in the month. Up next was Dec. 23 (a Monday), where the number of shoppers was up 10% compared to the other Mondays that month.
New Year’s: People at bars on New Year’s Eve in 2019 spent an average of $76. But the number of people spending money at bars on New Year’s Eve went up only 28% relative to the average Tuesday in December 2019.


Analysts used the spending transactions of more than 34,000 anonymized LendingTree accountholders who use the app’s new feature to connect bank accounts, review spending and track spending in real time.

We avoided comparing 2019 to 2020 when discussing last-minute shopping since Dec. 23, 2019, fell on a Monday. Because debit card purchases made on a weekend may not post until Monday, any comparisons may not be completely accurate.

Readers should note that users of the feature tend to skew younger, have lower incomes and lower credit scores than the national distribution. Both lower incomes and lower credit scores are more common in younger adults.

Typical holiday retailers included in the analysis were defined as:

  • Adult
  • Antique
  • Arts and crafts
  • Automotive
  • Beauty products
  • Bicycles
  • Bookstores
  • Cards and stationary
  • Children
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Computers and electronics
  • Dance and music
  • Department stores
  • Digital purchases
  • Discount stores
  • Florists
  • Furniture and home decor
  • Gift and novelty
  • Hardware
  • Hobby and collectibles
  • Jewelry and watches
  • Lawn and garden
  • Luggage
  • Marine supplies
  • Music, video and DVD
  • Musical instruments
  • Office supplies
  • Outlet
  • Pawnshops
  • Pets
  • Photos and frames
  • Shopping centers and malls
  • Sporting goods
  • Toys
  • Vintage and thrift
  • Warehouses and wholesale stores

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