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Where Gen Z & Millennials Get Holiday Gift Ideas, in 1 Chart

Where do holiday’s biggest spenders find ideas for gifts? One source tops the list (and no, it’s not social media)…

Millennials are predicted to spend more than all other generations holiday shopping this year. A Discover survey found that 35% of 23-38-year-olds plan to spend more this season than last year, more than Boomers or Xers. Higher incomes and bigger lists of people to buy for are fueling their higher budgets. YPulse’s own holiday shopping survey found that Millennials will spend an estimated average of $375 on gifts this season, while Gen Z will spend an estimated $170. Oh, and Millennial parents estimate they’ll spend $500.

But while young consumers know they’ll be spending—and 75% will be shopping this Black Friday and Cyber Monday—what they’re going to be giving isn’t as decided. When we asked what they would be shopping for this coming weekend, impulse buys were near the top of the list. The majority of Gen Z and Millennials agree that holiday shopping is stressful, and 63% tell us they would like suggestions from brands on holiday gift ideas. But where are they getting ideas for gifts now? We asked, and one inspiration source won out among Millennials:

Almost seven in ten Millennials say they browse online to get holiday gift ideas, making it their top source of inspiration. Browsing online stores by far beats out browsing in store for gift ideas, and even beats out social media as a tool for finding gifts. Of course, this generation is looking to make shopping easy and convenient: 87% of 18-37-year-olds tell us they are always looking for ways to make holiday shopping easier. And that means their holiday shopping has been creeping online for years. In 2018, more Millennials told us that they shopped online for Black Friday than shopped in-store, showing that they’re making every shopping event a cyber one. This year, 43% of 13-37-year-olds told us they would be doing all of their holiday shopping online and wouldn’t set a foot in stores—a slight decrease from 2018, but still a significant number. But for some, online browsing is step one, and an in-person shopping trip is the end goal: According to YPulse’s shopping survey, 59% of 13-37-year-olds have researched a product online then bought it at a store.

Millennials are more likely to browse online to find gift ideas than Gen Z—though over half of the younger generation does the same. But 13-18-year-olds are more likely to get ideas directly from their family and friends. According to NPD, the youngest generation is the least likely to holiday shop online, while Millennials are the most likely. Gen Z less likely to be financially equipped for online shopping, and  also continue to see shopping as a social experience, helping draw them to malls. But saying they “don’t like to shop” online might be a stretch—YPulse’s holiday shopping data found the majority (62%) of Gen Z plan on buying gifts online as well, And though they may be more likely to shop in-store than others, they’re actually less likely than Millennials to say that they’ll be getting gift ideas there.