Gen Z & Millennials’ 17 Favorite Places to Holiday Shop

Nov 19 2019

This year, online-only retailers dominate the ranking of young consumers’ favorite holiday shopping spots…

The kick-off to young shoppers holiday spending is next week. The majority of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers tell YPulse they see Thanksgiving as the beginning of winter holiday shopping, and three quarters say they look forward to shopping the sales around Thanksgiving. In other words, they’re about to start their holiday spending sprees.

YPulse’s holiday shopping research shows that young consumers’ holiday spending power could be $55 billion this year, with 90% of young consumers planning to holiday shop, and estimating that they’ll spend an average of around $550 on gifts for others, and things for themselves. According to 52% of 23-38-year-olds are even willing to accrue credit card debt to buy presents and visit family—more than other generations.

To find out what the top stores and sites they’re planning to visit to make those holiday gift purchases, our recent holiday shopping survey asked 13-37-year-olds, “What is your favorite store or site to shop at for holiday gifts?” Here are their top responses:

Their Favorite Stores/Sites To Holiday Shop


    1. Amazon
    2. Target
    3. Walmart
    4. eBay
    5. Etsy
    6. Macys
    7. Kohl’s
    8. J.Maxx
    9. Best Buy
    10. Nike
    11. Nordstrom
    12. Barnes and Noble
    13. Costco
    14. Bath & Body Works
    15. Sephora
    16. Ross
    17. Hot Topic

As we saw last year, Amazon tops the list of their favorite stores and sites to holiday shop, followed by Target and Walmart. But this year, the top ranking of their favorites is dominated by online-only retailers, with eBay and Etsy rounding off the top five. 

Online holiday shopping has become young consumers default setting, and it shows. In 2018, the Thanksgiving holiday weekend shattered online shopping records, with Thanksgiving Day online sales rising nearly 29%, according to Adobe, with mobile making up over one-third of the $3.7 billion day. The rest of the weekend followed suit, with Black Friday’s online sales surging 23.6% and Cyber Monday raking in $7.9 billion, “making it the single largest shopping day in U.S. history.” According to NPD, Millennials are more likely to shop online for holiday gifts than any other generation, and their preferences are clear when we look at the ranking by age:

While Amazon, Walmart, and Target top the list for each age group, Millennials are far more likely than Gen Z to name eBay and Etsy as favorite holiday shopping spots, with eBay making the ranking for both 19-25-year-olds and 26-37-year-olds. NPD also reports that the youngest generation is the least likely to holiday shop online—likely because they’re less likely to be financially equipped for online shopping. Though these younger consumers also continue to see shopping as a social experience, helping draw them to malls, saying they “don’t like to shop” online might be a stretch. YPulse’s holiday shopping data found 62% of 13-18-year-olds plan on buying gifts online as well, and clearly, Amazon is at the top of their favorite holiday shopping list.

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