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How Americans Embrace Self-Development During The Winter Holidays

Holiday Season Insights on Self-Development: From Gifted Time to Personal Growth


Headway is a global EdTech startup with 80M+ users that develops microlearning solutions for busy adults. Our flagship product is the Headway app, the world’s most popular book summary app that provides fun and easy growth. It gives key ideas and insights from the world's bestselling books and offers 1500+ text and audio summaries to grow on the go. 

The Headway app boasts a global user base of 30+ million, with the United States leading as the primary market. We have always known that our users value their free time and invest it in self-development and personal growth. However, what surprised us was the significant increase in reading and listening activity among Americans during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Whether the gift of time or the desire to spend it meaningfully, our users turned to Headway in droves during the festive season.

We analyzed one million US Headway users across different states over the 2022 winter holiday season. We aimed to identify self-growth demand and compared the top ten states to find the regions with the highest demand for such content.

Key Insights:

  • Americans read more during the winter holidays, compared to the whole year.

  • People prefer to read and not listen to content during the holiday festive season.

  • Women allocate nearly 12% more time to self-improvement.

  • Gen-Z and Baby Boomers take the lead in holiday reading activity.

Holiday Reading Surge

During the holiday season, from December 24 to January 4, we observed a significant increase in user engagement with book summaries on Headway:

  • Americans read more during the holidays, representing an average growth of 8%, the largest uplift of the year.

  • This increase was even more on specific days like December 26 and January 2, with 9.6% and 8.3% growth rates, respectively.

Top Five States for Holiday Self-Development

Among all US states, three emerged as leaders in self-development activity during the period between December 24 to January 4:

1st Place: Minnesota claimed the top spot with a 12.2% increase in activity during the winter holidays, making it the most active state for holiday engagement with book summaries.

2nd Place: New York closely followed with a 10.2% increase in user activity, indicating a strong appetite for self-improvement during the festive season.

3rd Place: Washington secured third position with a growth rate of 9.3%.

4th Place: Arizona claimed fourth position with 8.01% growth.

5th Place: Missouri rounded up the top five with a 7.9% increase in user activity.


State-by-State Breakdown:

Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the percentage growth in user activity for all states during the holiday season:


Who's Most Engaged in Holiday Reading? Gen-Z and Baby Boomers Take the Lead!

After analyzing the winter data, we see that men and women prefer READING rather than LISTENING to content during the holidays. It's fascinating to see that both Gen-Z (aged 18-24) and Baby Boomers (aged 55+) exhibit the same enthusiasm for knowledge. So, the youngest and most experienced generations are equally dedicated to personal growth.

Here's a breakdown of the percentage growth in reading activity by age group:


Who is Willing to Read More: Men or Women?

When it comes to holiday reading, women allocate nearly 12% more time to self-improvement, while men dedicate 7% more to holiday reading. 

In Which States Do Women Read More?

Georgia leads with 20.8% growth in women's reading, followed by New Jersey, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Florida as the top five states. This data indicates that women in these states read substantially more than the national average during the holidays.


In Which States Do Men Read More?

In contrast, Minnesota is at the forefront with a 31.3% growth in reading among men, followed by Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, and New York, the top five states with the most growth in men's reading activity during the holiday season. This data suggests that men in these states read significantly more than the national average during this period.

These states have the highest growth in men's reading activity during the winter holiday period.


The holiday season is when Americans turn to Headway with a renewed enthusiasm for self-development. As we continue to empower users with knowledge and insights, we look forward to seeing this trend grow and flourish in the coming years.


We sampled one million Headway users from different states in the US. To analyze their activity during the winter holidays, we compared the number of hours of listening and reading with the previous months. We also compared activity by age group and gender in each state. 

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