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Gen Z & Millennials’ Black Friday & Cyber Monday Plans, In 3 Charts

The traditional kick-off to holiday shopping is here, but as with all things in 2020, Gen Z and Millennials’ plans may be a little different this year…


We’re days away from what would usually be the official kick off to holiday shopping—but what will Black Friday and Cyber Monday look like in an unpredictable year? YPulse’s Holiday Shopping report found that 57% of 13-39-year-olds are not comfortable holiday shopping in stores this year, and 53% plan to do most of it online. Meanwhile, retailers have been encouraging shoppers to get a jump on holiday deals, releasing discounts earlier than ever in an effort to boost sales and avoid shipping issues closer to the holidays. So will all of these factors put a damper on spending this holiday weekend? Our data on Gen Z and Millennials’ Black Friday and Cyber Monday plans indicates that there could be a slow down for these retail events in 2020.

We asked young consumers how many plan to shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and compared their plans for 2020 with their responses in 2019:

We told brands that they may need to rethink Black Friday this year, and it looks like enthusiasm for the shopping event has decreased this year, with 48% of young consumers telling us they plan to shop on Black Friday compared to 60% in 2019. Their reticence to enter stores is very likely the main force behind the drop. Black Friday has been an in-person event, and this year 61% of those who plan to shop on Black Friday say will only shop online this year. For some, the shift to online shopping may be taking the allure out of the day, leading to a drop in those who plan to participate.

In contrast, nearly the same number of Gen Z and Millennials plan to shop on Cyber Monday as did in 2019, and if those plans hold it looks like this year Cyber Monday sales could eclipse Black Fridays. According to Deloitte’s 2020 holiday study, Cyber Monday 2020 is set to become “the biggest online shopping day of the year” in the U.S., with young consumers shopping on their phones forecasted to contribute to the “Cyber Monday bump.”

So how will Gen Z and Millennials’ spending this weekend compare to years’ past? We asked those who say they’ll be shopping for Black Friday or Cyber Monday if they plan to spend more, less, or the same as they did in 2019:

Overall 64% of Gen Z and Millennials say that they plan to spend as much or more on Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2020 as they did last year, while a little over a third say they plan to spend less—potentially good news for retailers. When we compare generations, Gen Z teens are much more likely than Millennials to say they’ll be spending more than 2019. Millennials seem to be a little more budget-minded this year, with 38% saying that they plan to spend less. Of course, these are plans, and the allure of deals and discounts on Instagram feeds and elsewhere could push many of those who plan to spend less to splurge more than they intended. But as Millennials are the group with more spending power, their responses do indicate that brands should be prepared for a little less of a revenue bonanza than they might have in years’ past.

Unsurprisingly, online retailers are likely to see the most activity from Gen Z and Millennial shoppers this year:

The majority of Gen Z and Millennials who are planning to shop this coming weekend say they’ll be shopping at an online retailer (e.g. Amazon, Overstock). Of course, online retail was also the category at the top of the list of stores and websites they planned to shop for this weekend in 2019 as well. Gen Z and Millennials are well-known to have embraced ecommerce ahead of other groups, and have been fueling the shift of Black Friday online for some time. Meanwhile, Millennials are more likely than Gen Z to say they’ll be shopping at mass merchant stores, and Gen Z is more likely to be planning to shop tech retailers—perhaps with their eye on one of the new consoles that are being released this season.

Overall, Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to be shopping from home this weekend, which is likely to shift their spending. Expect Cyber Monday to be bigger than Black Friday, and the weekend overall to be less of a record breaker as the shopping season started earlier and some young shoppers’ budgets are tighter.