Survey: Majority of Shoppers Plan to Make More Large Purchases in 2022

If there’s been a theme for 2022 so far, it’d have to be “cautious optimism.” After nearly two full years of pandemic life — including multiple setbacks — Americans now seem ready to get back to normal ASAP. Displaying that optimism once again, the latest survey from WalletHub shows that many consumers are now ready to make large purchases this year, including ones they’d previously put off.

First, 54% of those surveyed expect to make more large purchases this year than they did in 2021. This declaration comes after several say they delayed large purchases last year due to the ongoing pandemic. Similarly, a 2021 survey found that 42% of respondents had put off purchases in 2020.

Of course, survey respondents had different views about what constitutes a “large purchase.” The top answer (with 34%) was “over $250” followed by 26% who said a large purchase was anything over $500. Bookending the survey, 23% said that over $100 was their threshold for “large” while 17% said that over $1,000 was large to them.

As for how respondents intend to pay for these purchases, the top answer was “credit cards,” which was preferred by 61% of those surveyed. That’s notably up from 55% who said they preferred credit in last year’s survey. Debit cards came in second with 26% — down from 32% last year. Meanwhile, the percentage of respondents that preferred cash for large purchases rose from 10% in 2021 to 12% this year while a scant 1% said they planned to write a check.

Of those who preferred credit cards, a majority cited their rewards potential as the reason why, while one-fifth also said they were the easiest option. On the other hand, the majority of debit card fans said they enjoyed using them as a means of avoiding credit card debt, while 35% said debit cards were the easiest and quickest medium for payment. Lastly, 43% of those planning to pay in cash also expressed a desire to avoid debt, with 38% claiming paper money to be the easiest payment option.

Commenting on this year’s survey, WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez noted, “The COVID-19 pandemic hurt many people’s finances and left millions unemployed for months on end. As a result, 35% of Americans did not make a large purchase last year.” Gonzalez continued, “The good news is that the unemployment rate has dropped drastically due to states reopening and the distribution of the vaccine. Encouragingly, 54% of Americans now plan to make more large purchases in 2022 than they did in 2021.”

Nearly two years after the world changed in early 2020, the U.S. is in a unique place. While there are plenty of problems left to sort out, the good news is that things do seem to be getting somewhat back to normal a little bit at a time. To that point, although consumers making large purchases isn’t the end all be all of economic health, it is a positive indicator overall. In turn, once again, there’s even more reason to be “cautiously optimistic” as 2022 continues to unfurl.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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