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What Young Consumers Really Unwrapped and Shopped For This Holiday Season

Our infographic snapshot checks in with young consumers to see if their holiday gift wishes came true and how their pre-holiday shopping plans compared to what they actually bought…

There’s no lack of festive cheer among Gen Z and Millennials during the holidays. From movies to music to holiday-themed…well, everything, young consumers unabashedly celebrated and at the top of their holiday plans for 2018 was opening presents. We checked in after the holiday cheer settled, learning that five in six 13-36-year-olds received gifts. The majority received clothes and money/gift cards, which happened to be at the top of their wishlists when we asked in October 2018. Clothes and cash also landed among their top five favorite gifts they received, so it seems Santa hit his target. Tech was also at the top of their holiday wishlists, and headphones/speakers was the most popular tech item received, beating mobile devices and computers/laptops. Headphones also landed in their top five favorite gifts, reinforcing young consumers’ passion for music.

But 13-36-year-olds don’t only have Santa to thank for their new stash of goods. The treat yo’self mentality was the perfect excuse for self-gifting, a behavior the NRF found was up by 13%. In October 2018, almost 40% of 13-36-year-olds told us they planned to buy “gifts” for themselves—and their estimated budget was nearly as high as their budget to buy gifts for others. It turns out almost half (more than had planned) ended up buying something for themselves, with 13-17-year-olds spending an average of $50 and 18-36-year-olds spending a whopping average of $307 on self-gifted items.

Of course, the presents they bought weren’t just for themselves. Young consumers also shared holiday cheer with others, and their estimated budgets for how much they would spend on gifts was not far off from what they report actually spending, with teens spending an average of $117 on others and 18-36-year-olds spending an average of $415. The number of 13-36-year-olds who told us they planned to holiday shop and those who actually did were also very close, as were the top stores they told us they planned to shop at and where they actually shopped—so young consumers’ holiday shopping plans aren’t straying from what they actually do.

Check out our post-holiday infographic snapshot below for more insight into what young consumers found under the tree this year, and how their holiday shopping compared to their plans:

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.