Insider Intelligence delivers leading-edge research to clients in a variety of forms, including full-length reports and data visualizations to equip you with actionable takeaways for better business decisions.
In-depth analysis, benchmarks and shorter spotlights on digital trends.
Learn More
Interactive projections with 10k+ metrics on market trends, & consumer behavior.
Learn More
Proprietary data and over 3,000 third-party sources about the most important topics.
Learn More
Industry KPIs
Industry benchmarks for the most important KPIs in digital marketing, advertising, retail and ecommerce.
Learn More
Client-only email newsletters with analysis and takeaways from the daily news.
Learn More
Analyst Access Program
Exclusive time with the thought leaders who craft our research.
Learn More

About Insider Intelligence

Our goal at Insider Intelligence is to unlock digital opportunities for our clients with the world’s most trusted forecasts, analysis, and benchmarks. Spanning five core coverage areas and dozens of industries, our research on digital transformation is exhaustive.
Our Story
Learn more about our mission and how Insider Intelligence came to be.
Learn More
Rigorous proprietary data vetting strips biases and produces superior insights.
Learn More
Our People
Take a look into our corporate culture and view our open roles.
Join the Team
Contact Us
Speak to a member of our team to learn more about Insider Intelligence.
Contact Us
See our latest press releases, news articles or download our press kit.
Learn More
Advertising & Sponsorship Opportunities
Reach an engaged audience of decision-makers.
Learn More
Browse our upcoming and past events, recent podcasts, and other featured resources.
Learn More
Tune in to eMarketer's daily, weekly, and monthly podcasts.
Learn More

Consumers’ financial concerns could disrupt yearslong cash use trend

The data: Consumers are relying more on cash to limit their spending as they contend with sustained cost-of-living pressures.

Research from The Harris Poll commissioned by Credit Karma found that:

  • In the US, 53% of consumers use cash more now than a year ago. Some of that is driven by budgeting demands: 16% said they have more control when they use cash.
  • In the UK, 46% of adults use cash more now than a year ago, and 12% credited physical money with cutting spending.
  • The trend is stronger with younger consumers: 69% of US Gen Zers use cash more than a year ago, and 23% say they use it for the majority of purchases. TikTok fads like “cash stuffing,” where shoppers put money in envelopes to control spending, could be behind that uptick.

Trendspotting: Cash’s appeal as a budgeting tool during downturns and a post-pandemic rebound for in-store shopping are helping reverse a yearslong decline in cash use.

  • Shoppers who pay with cash generally have a more accurate idea of how much they spend than those who pay by card or via digital channels—multiple studies suggest. Persistent inflation and economic uncertainty in the US and the UK will likely sustain this trend for the foreseeable future.
  • But even as cash use climbs, access to it is falling. The number of ATMs and bank branches in the UK has fallen sharply in recent years, per UK government research. The US went from 470,000 ATMs in 2019 to 451,500 at the end of 2022, per Euromonitor International data cited by the Wall Street Journal.

Our take: The US and UK governments are working to protect cash access. The US’ Payment Choice Act and new UK legislation would both support cash-reliant consumers.

  • Payment providers and banks need to cater to digital, card, and cash demand at checkout. If they fail to realize cash’s importance to some customers, they risk throttling financial inclusion and alienating sizable demographics.
  • And given the outsize number of Black and Hispanic adults in the US who use cash for the majority of purchases, that could hurt minority communities the hardest.

But the uptick in cash use likely won’t persist in the long term and won’t require full strategy rethinks. But the trend, particularly among digitally savvy Gen Zers, shows cash’s appeal isn’t going away.

Related content: Read our UK Consumer Payment Habits and Payment Channels and Types of Transactions reports to find how providers can better cater to shifting payer preferences.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Payments Innovation Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the payments industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.