A survey of holiday spending patterns examined by online media and marketing firm Consumer Affairs shows that Arkansas ranked No.2 among 50 states for the lowest spenders during the recent holiday period.
Nebraska was the only state to rank lower. Vermont, South Dakota and Montana rounded out the top 5 lowest holiday spenders. New Hampshire, Kentucky, Colorado, Idaho and Mississippi comprised the top five highest-spending states.
“We all have met those folks who give a lot around the holidays. For some, they don’t have much, but they give regardless. Others give a lot and then need to tighten their wallets later. And still, others are fortunate enough to give a lot without sweating it. In our study, especially among the less populated states, this behavior was measurable in the data,” said George Earl, vice president of data and analytics of Consumer Affairs.
The methodology used in the report included a survey of 1,390 consumers between Jan. 1-6. The researchers also normalized, rescaled and weighted the data that was compared with median income by state and the average credit card balances and credit scores by state. Using this method Arkansas made the top 10 lowest-spending list.
The data is skewed somewhat by median state incomes. Arkansas has a median state family income of $47,094. But that number is considerably higher in various parts of the state such as Benton County ($68,978) the highest in the state as of 2018. Saline County has the state’s second-highest median income at $63,677. This is in contrast to lower incomes in parts of southern and eastern Arkansas such as Lee County which has a median income of $28,080, which ranks as the 12 lowest in the nation. Phillips County has the second-lowest median income in the state at $29,945, Searcy County and Chicot County have median income levels at $31,659 and $31,787 respectively.
The list of the worst holiday spending hangovers ranked Arkansas at No. 27, middle of the pack. The other low spending states of Vermont, South Dakota and Montana ranked as the top 3 with the mildest spending hangover. States with the highest spending hangover include West Virginia at No. 1, with Alabama, Rhode Island, Maine and Alaska rounding out the top 5. The report found 41% of consumers in Alabama likely overspent for the holidays. Alabama has a median income of $49,936, only $2,800 more than Arkansas.
Mississippi ranked No. 7 on the biggest hangover spending list and No. 5 on the highest spender list. Mississippi shoppers spent an average of $707.50 on holiday spending. The survey found 37% of consumers in Mississippi who used a credit card to make Christmas purchases said they overspent. Mississippi has the lowest median income in the nation at $42,781. Mississippi ranks at the bottom for FICO scores with an average of 667 and average credit card debt of $5,134
Arkansas ranks 44th in the nation for average credit scores with a FICO average of 683 and an average credit card debt of $5,327. Mississippi ranks at the bottom for FICO scores with an average of 667 and an average credit card debt of $5,134.