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Young Europeans Have These 10 Items on Their Holiday Wish List

The cost-of-living crisis in Western Europe is affecting how young consumers are shopping, but is it changing their holiday wish lists?


  • Young Europeans would rather receive meaningful gifts than expensive ones
  • Clothes are the top items young consumers want on their holiday wish list in almost all Western European countries
  • Gen Z and Millennials are also practical about their gifts, and want to receive items such as money, food / beverage, and even necessities

This winter holiday shopping season has already been defined by budget concerns, with three-quarters of young Europeans saying inflation will impact their holiday shopping this year. While that doesn’t mean these gens are not shopping or giving, many have had to adapt their shopping behavior to the economic situation by shopping early, spending less, finding the best deals, and buying more necessities.

In YPulse’s WE Holiday Shopping Plans report, we dig into what kinds of gifts 13-39-year-olds want to receive this year, and what brands can learn from young consumers’ holiday wish lists. We found that young consumers have packed their wish lists with more practical items than superfluous ones. Gen Z and Millennials are also after meaningful gifts, with four in five saying they’d rather receive an inexpensive but more meaningful gift rather than an expensive but less personalized one. To find out exactly what they want to receive, we asked “What kind of items are on your holiday wish list?” and gave them a choice of 13 types of gifts, ranging from clothes to beauty items to tech. Here are the top ten answers across all five countries in Western Europe:

Table of top gifts on the holiday wish lists of Gen Z and Millennials in Western Europe

Clothes are the top item on young Europeans’ wish lists

Clothing items are the top answer across almost all five Western Europe countries, apart from Germany where this item ranks second to money/gift cards. Three-quarters of European Gen Z and Millennials express themselves through their clothes, which is why buying clothes is such an important part of their culture. And of course, getting new clothes helps them to stay tuned with the latest trends. YPulse’s data shows that 51% of young Europeans agree with the statement “It is important for me to stay on top of the latest trends and fashions.” Spanish young consumers seem especially keen to receive clothes this holiday, 64% of whom say they’d like clothes on their wish list—almost twice as much as German young consumers.

While clothing is always a popular gift (it was also the top item on their holiday wish lists in 2021) this is also a category of gift that is considered an essential by many, and 63% of young people in Western Europe agree “Because of the economy, I’m going to ask for more essentials as gifts this year.”

Young consumers also want to receive money / gift cards, especially German consumers

When young Europeans are asked if they’d rather receive money or products this holiday, half of them answer money, and money and gift cards on top of their holiday wish lists. This is especially true in Germany, where money / gift cards are the top item on young consumers’ wish lists. These young consumers have a pragmatic approach to their holiday wish list, and do not hesitate to simply ask for cash from their loved ones this year.

It is hard for brands to compete with the pragmatic choice that young Europeans are making to receive cash for the holiday instead of superfluous items. Brands trying to reach these gens should try to promote gift cards as much as possible in order to compete with young consumers’ wish for money.

And food / beverages make it to the holiday wish lists of U.K. and German young consumers

Not only do young consumers want cash for the holiday, but they are also completely fine with asking for food / beverages from their loved ones. Even essentials / necessities-think grocery stores gift cards-can be found on the top ten item of young Germans’ wish lists. YPulse data shows when given the choice, three in five say they’d rather receive products they need than products they want. So, with inflation soaring across the continent and the cost-of-living crisis affecting young consumers’ finances, they have their eyes set on more basic items this year.

Brands should make sure they adapt their marketing to the practical approach young Europeans have to their holiday wish list this year. They can learn from the German supermarket Aldi, which is selling dupe luxury hampers in its U.K. stores. Christmas hampers—a classic British tradition—are a great example of gifts that combine the practical and economical elements young consumers are after, while still keeping that festive feeling. While holiday shopping is usually a time for big tech and luxury, brands should consider that necessities are just as important as expensive gifts this year in Western Europe.