Research Outline

Personal Loan Consumer Demographics and Buying Habits


To provide demographic information and buying habits of consumers who take out unsecured personal loans, specially large loans ($5,000 or more). Payday loans and cash advances should be excluded from the research.

Early Findings

  • The state of Washington has the "highest average personal loan balance." Other states with high personal loan balance averages (above $20,000) include Wyoming, South Dakota, Oregon, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, and Arkansas. Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Florida have averages nearing this threshold, as well.
  • Baby boomers have the highest personal loan average out of all generations. Generation X is in second place. However, the average personal loan balance of millennials has grown 44% since 2014.
  • According to Chamber of Commerce, unsecured personal loans are used by "people of all income brackets, ethnic backgrounds, and regions of the country."
  • 19.1 million U.S. consumers currently have an unsecured personal loan.
  • The average credit score of people approved for a personal loan is 741.
  • The reasons why consumers take out an unsecured personal loan in the first place can help shed some light on their buying habits. A survey of LendingTree customers noted the following reasons: debt consolidation (39.2%), credit card refinance (21.8%), home improvement (7.7%), major purchase (3.5%), medical bills (3%), moving/relocation (2.7%), vacation (2.3%), car financing (1.7%), wedding expenses (1.5%), business (1%), home buying (0.7%), green loan (0.3%), and the rest cited 'other' reasons.
  • Personal loans in higher amounts are typically acquired via a bank or fintech leader (averaging $10,000 per loan), while smaller loans are acquired via a credit card union (averaging $5,300 per loan). Fintech lenders account for 38% of all unsecured personal loans.
  • 12% of consumers who said they had heard of an online personal loan lender had applied for such a loan.

Results of Early Findings

  • Information that pertains to demographic information and buying habits of consumers who take out unsecured personal loans, specially large loans ($5,000 or more) is severely lacking within the realm of publicly available information. The majority of available information pertains to personal loans in general.
  • It may be worth researching the demographics and buying habits of baby boomers, generation X, millennials and consumers who have credit scores above 700, as these groups appear to be the primary consumer groups who are taking out larger sized personal loans.

Prepared By
Ashley N.
1404 assignments | 5.0