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Q4 2023 US Consumer Pulse Study Key Takeaways

TransUnion’s quarterly survey explores consumer behaviors and attitudes about current and future household budgets, spending and debt. Discover valuable key takeaways from our Q4 2023 US Consumer Pulse Study. Watch the video on this page or download the report.

Full transcript below

The TransUnion Q4 2023 U-S Consumer Pulse Study. Consumer behaviors and attitudes about current and future household budgets, spending and debt.

Our quarterly survey of 3,000 adult American consumers explores how their personal finances have changed and what changes they expect in the future.

The first key takeaway in our study showed financial optimism is being driven by Millennials.

Nearly three in five or 56% of Americans reported optimism about their household finances in the next 12 months. Millennials were the most optimistic at 71% compared to Baby Boomers who ranked the lowest at just 44%.

Income increases reported by Millennials over the past three months appeared to drive their positive outlooks, and possibly resulted in their better than planned household finances. Millennials also expected higher income growth in the next 12 months.

Key takeaway #2 revealed consumers were surprised by the end of student loan forbearance and are making necessary budget adjustments.

Two in three consumers (or 65% of those who said they had a federal student loan in forbearance) were caught off guard this summer when the US Department of Education announced loan repayments would begin again in October 2023.

Of those reporting payments resuming this fall, 36% were Millennials and 33% Gen Z.

Of those who said they had a federal student loan in forbearance, 58% plan to make all monthly payments in full, while 30% plan to make a partial payment, and 13% reported they’ll make no payments at all.

The top ways consumers said they’ll cover this additional monthly expense include reducing discretionary spending like dining out, travel or entertainment, using savings, and getting a second job or part-time/temporary work.

Another key takeaway from the study showed inflation as the number one financial concern for 44% of consumers and a top three concern for 79%.

Overall, only 34% said their household incomes were keeping up with the rate of inflation.

The final key takeaway was there’s record-setting intent for credit card openings. Among consumers who planned to apply for new or refinance existing credit in the next year, credit cards were the most sought-after product at 57%. This is the highest percentage since TransUnion began tracking in 2020.

Credit cards were also at the top of the list for how consumers said they’d pay for holiday purchases, coming in at 39%. As well, 20% of those who reported they're unable to pay a current bill or loan said they’d use available credit card balances to do so — a number seven percentage points higher than Q4 2022.

Would you like even more insights into a consumer's views of finances and how they plan to participate in the economy in the coming months?

Visit to download the report.