The Real Data On Millennials’ & Gen Z’s Holiday Shopping

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Holiday sales exceeded expectations, so we checked in with young consumers to find out all about how, where, and how much they spent this season...

Retailers had high hopes for Millennial and Gen Z spending this holiday season, and the optimism paid off. Several studies declared that this would be the biggest shopping season yet for 13-35-year-olds, with The National Retail Federation, RetailDive, and more predicting that young consumers would spend more than any other generation. EMarketer also predicted that this boost would be particularly prominent for online shopping, forecasting that total retail sales were expected to grow just 3.1% while online sales were predicted to jump 16.6%. Our own research showed that retailers would have quite a haul this year: four in five Millennials told Ypulse that they planned to shop for the holidays this year. We calculated their spending power could be over $25 billion, based on their own estimates of what they planned to spend on gifts for others and themselves.

So how did it all turn out? Even better than expected, according to The NRF. While they predicted an increase of between 3.6% and 4% over 2016, holiday sales during November and December actually increased 5.5%. And the International Council of Shopping Centers found that overall spending rose by 18%. According to Ypulse’s Post-Holiday Shopping Topline, 83% of 13-35-year-olds shopped this holiday season, and they reported spending an average of over $750. This is a significant increase over last year, when they spent an average of just under $500. To get a better sense of when they spent that money and how, we asked 1000 13-35-year-olds to tell us the days they shopped, and where they went to do it:

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Like last year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday were the biggest shopping days for…

 
 

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “Time I could be sleeping is time I spend on social media. It's now part of my waking up and going to sleep routine and, for those reasons, I'm feeling done with social media."—Male, 24, CA

MasterCard created an audio-only logo for Generation Voice Activated. The finance brand has debuted a sound they’ll play when people check out using their MasterCard. YPulse data shows that 29% of 18-36-year-olds own a smart speaker device, and that number is only expected to grow along with the use of other audio-activated devices. MasterCard wants to make their brand memorable without visual cues to tap into the $40 billion in revenue voice shopping is expected to generate by 2022. (Fast Company)

Brands are acting uncannily human on Twitter—is it working? Many brands (mainly the food and beverage kind) are “behav[ing] like real people with idiosyncratic personalities” on social media to connect with young consumers. This allows them to “stand out it in a crowded marketplace," explains one marketing professor. And Twitter users are engaging: from Sunny D to Steak-umm, brands are going viral for nihilist, and even depressing, first-person posts. (Vice)

Millennials are buying more greeting cards this Valentine’s Day. The National Retail Federation estimates the industry made as much as $933 million yesterday, compared to $894 million last year. Experts say that Millennials are behind the boost as they buy more expensive, albeit fewer, cards that often have personalized flourishes and functions (like audio). They’re also opting for IRL cards over e-cards because, as one enthusiast explains, "I like giving cards because you can hold it, unlike a text or email.” (NPR)

Brands went beyond romantic messaging for Valentine’s Day this year. Some catered to Millennials’ Treat Yo’Self mentality with collaborations like Tinder and Homesick’s “Single, Not Sorry” candle, while others celebrated Galentine’s Day. Target stocked themed decorations for those hosting girls-only get-togethers and Kay Jewelers set aside a site category for Galentine’s Day gifts. Finally, the NRF estimates that pet owners spent $886 million on their furry friends on Valentine’s Day, and retailers like PetSmart advertised accordingly. (ContentStandard)

More college grads are taking on retail jobs as stores up the ante for new hires. Yes, the trend is fueled by student debt and other financial factors, but also because stores that focus on experience expect more than ever from their customer service reps. Workers at Sweaty Betty, Everlane, and Warby Parker are reportedly trained with workshops, tests, and homework. But while, as one expert explains, “Customers are also coming in with much higher expectations of what level of service they’re going to receive,” retail wages aren’t keeping pace. (Refinery29)

Quote of the Day: “The best thing about social media is to connect with people across geographical boundaries and cultures. I love interacting with people that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”—Female, 22, PA

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies