Skip to Top NavigationSkip to ContentSkip to Footer
Ferris State University BulldogFerris State University Logo

New Young Consumer Research Found Gender Differences Toward Debt

New Young Consumer Research Found Gender Differences Toward Debt 

September 5, 2023

Credit Cards

New study done by Ferris State University professors shows gender differences towards perceived debt.

Young male consumers were more likely to claim that they had their debt under control, and young female consumers were more likely to claim that financial debt had influenced their lives, according to recent research published in Young Consumers, the journal with a high-impact factor in the field of marketing. 

Professors Scot Squires and Henry Ho from the College of Business at Ferris State University are the researchers behind the new study. They were interested in understanding how young consumers — specifically Gen Z — perceive debt and how that impacts their spending. 

This study is an extension of consumer behavior. It seeks insight into not only how the younger generation perceives debt compared to the older generations but also how their perception of debt influences what they buy and decide not to buy.  

The empirical study conducted by Drs. Squires and Ho within the state of Michigan found that “the majority of consumers from Generation Z reported that using credit is basically wrong. Also, these young consumers claimed that being in debt is never a good thing.”  

In brief, these Gen Z perceptions provide constructive data for use in evaluating and amending marketers’ strategies to better connect with young customers. 

According to Dr. Squires, “Since there is very limited research on young consumers' perceptions of debt, the findings of this study can then be used to help marketers better understand this generation of young consumers.”

But the study, like all research, includes some caveats. For example, the survey was conducted in just one state.

Dr. Ho explains, “Future research is needed to expand the scope of our research. For example, it would be useful to research whether young consumers from another country have similar attitudes and perceptions or whether their views are different.” 

Concluding their piece, Drs. Squires and Ho pointed out that “with more than 60 million Gen Zers in the USA alone, marketers need to understand how to market to this generation of young consumers who are worried about financial security and an uncertain future. In many situations, this generation has a negative view of debt and is very reluctant to take out loans.” Furthermore, “knowing how this new generation of young consumers think, companies can customize marketing, advertising, and public relations campaigns to better communicate with them.” 

The full article is available in the journal of Young Consumers, Volume 24, Number 2, 2023.