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Research and Statistics

Millennials hold more retail credit cards than other generations, study shows

A new TD Bank survey also shows millennials use their store cards three times per month on average – far more often than older adults

Summary

A new survey from TD Bank shows millennials have more store credit cards in their name than other generations – and are also making significantly more purchases with these cards.

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When making a major purchase, many Americans draw on a retail store card. But according to new data from TD Bank, one generation is utilizing these cards far more than all the others.

TD Bank’s Retail Experience Index is a biannual survey on consumer purchasing habits, with a specific focus on major purchases, or those costing $500 or more. What TD Bank found this year is that millennials have more store credit cards in their name than other generations, and are also making significantly more purchases with these cards.

Defined as those U.S. adults born from 1982 to 1996 (age 23-38), millennials are spending about $4,000 per year on major purchases, averaging 3.9 transactions annually. In contrast, Generation X is only averaging 3.0 major purchases per year, and baby boomers just 2.6.

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Millennials are also making more of their purchases with store cards. While Gen Xers and boomers hold 2.4 and 2.3 store cards, respectively, millennials hold 2.9 retail store cards on average.

Even more striking is how often millennials are making purchases with these cards, reporting an average of 3.1 store card transactions each month. That’s 72% more than the 1.8 average monthly transactions of Generation X adults, and 138% more than baby boomers’ 1.3 monthly purchases.

TD Bank’s survey was conducted by Maru/Matchbox among a targeted sample of 998 American shoppers during late September 2019. The data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the national population, with results reported Jan. 23.

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