May 30, 2024

A waiter walks among tables at a New York City restaurant.

A waiter walks among tables at a New York City restaurant.
Image: Getty Images North America (Getty Images)

As consumers continue to deal with elevated levels of inflation, their tipping habits also appear to be feeling the impact of ‘tipflation.’

According to market research firm Talker Research, consumers in the U.S. are reluctantly spending nearly $500 a year on tipping. That’s more than they’d like to, the firm noted.

Talker Research, formerly known as OnePoll U.S., said that on average, customers hesitantly tip nearly $40 a month when they dine out, in part because they feel “pressure or awkwardness” when the options are presented.

The survey, which includes responses from 2,000 Americans, found that over a quarter (26%) of those surveyed, feel they are always or often forced to tip more than they’d like to. Meanwhile, about 24% said it is rare that they feel put on the spot to tip, the firm said.

That feeling doesn’t resonate equally across every age demographic. The survey found that a third of both Gen Z (33%) and millennials (33%) always or often feel pressured to tip when they buy items in store. When they do tip, the two groups said they occasionally are made to feel guilty.

An April WalletHub survey found that nearly three-quarters of Americans think tipping has gotten “out of control.” More than half of the 210 U.S. respondents surveyed said they believe businesses are swapping out employees’ salaries for tips, putting the burden to pay workers fairly on customers.

“Tipflation,” “guilt-tipping,” and “tip creep” have all been used to describe the growing discontent and confusion.

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