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Millennials’ Holiday Spending Habits

With both Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us, we’re now headed on the fast track toward the holidays!  With Hanukah beginning on December 16th, Christmas on the 25th, Kwanzaa on the 26th and Orthodox churches celebrating on January 7th, holiday shopping is in full swing.   For marketers, preparation for this season begins months prior and as with all marketing efforts, different generations respond differently to different tactics.  Millennials, more often than not, are lumped into one large sum and then a generic strategy is implemented for them.  They love digital!  They want it now!  In reality, this generation differs from coast to coast – from community to community.  Research from the Boston Consulting Group and several others show that millennials feel as though brands are an expression of their identity.  They favor brands that reflect their personal values as opposed to those that are generic and impersonal.  In terms of marketing for the holidays, a time that is so special and close to the heart for so many people, it is important that brands reflect appropriate messaging for their intended audience.  In a study Olympia conducted of 200,000 millennials, findings indicate that a third (33)% of millennials plan to spend more on holiday shopping this year, with 45% planning to spend the same as last year and only 22% planning to spend less.  Additional findings noted are:

  • Millennials who planned on participating in Cyber Monday shopping indicated that they felt particularly generous this year.  The majority, nearly 60%, said that they plan on spending more than they did the previous year.
  • Among millennials who intend to spend some time doing a little shopping for themselves, 71% indicated that they plan to spend money on fashion.  Not quite as many, but still a majority (54%) plan on dedicating some funds to technology purchases.
  • Mobile is the king of the era, but it’s not the king of shopping channels for millennials.  Only 29% indicated that they will be using smartphones or tablets for their online holiday shopping.
  • In addition, a near majority (49%) of them plan to splurge on some much needed R&R and take some leisure travel time.  According to Evan Burns, Olympia Media Group CEO and founder, this statistic is “surprisingly high.”  Burns said that this figure even excludes the typical obligatory holiday treks to see family.

Despite the attribute of being “digital natives,” more millennials had plans to shop on Black Friday (37%) than on Cyber Monday (23%).  With travel plans in the works and less than a third utilizing their smartphones for purchases, we may have some pre-conceived notions about this generation that needs some fleshing out.

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