2018 Holiday Gift Shopping - US
When it comes to gift shopping and gift-giving during the 2018 holiday season, millennials were driven by their usage of mobile devices for research and price comparison (“webroom”), their need to post pictures of unique gifts on social media, and the trend of owning and humanizing their pets and shopping gifts for them, as much as they would do for a family member.
We commenced our research by looking for the general habits of millennials when purchasing gifts during holiday seasons. The search revealed that the lifestyle and habits of each millennial determined their gift purchasing and gift-giving behavior. Following this, we focused on finding statistical data regarding the habits of millennials when purchasing gifts during the holiday season, in order to present them as a trend. PWC, Nielsen, RetailMeNot, MobileMarketer, Edelman, G/O Digital, UsToday are some of the sources we examined to find the required information. All the sources commonly had information on 'How millennials choose and buy gifts?' and 'What they expect when they give them?'.
After finding all the information from the above-mentioned domains, we chose the habits that constitute a trend following these criteria:
- We first chose the habits that were mentioned in almost all the sources and heavily supported by marketing studies.
- Connecting the discovered data with repeatedly mentioned habits (also that are related to their lifestyle), we defined their buy and gift-giving behavior.
- The habits repeatedly mentioned were mobile usage, social media posting, and owning a pet. We also selected these habits because they apply only to millennials, and are not common among other generations.
Further, we performed an extensive search on several credible domains to verify the information.
Trends and motivations
- In 2018, millennials had a direct impact on holiday purchasing and altered the way they usually spend the money. According to a Nielsen study, 75 million millennials in the United States outspent baby boomers, and they were expected to spend a total of $85 billion in 2018 holiday season.
- Also, about 93% of them were expected to search for good deals, but without sacrificing quality, convenience, and speed (sometimes more than price).
- They were the largest users of social media when it came to looking for brands and deals. The number of millennials that planned to use social media sites for their holiday shopping in 2018 nearly doubled to 15%, from 8% in 2017.
- Social media not only impacted millennial's buying habits. But, when it came to giving a gift, they did it to feel good and to earn likes on their social media posts.
1. usage of mobile devices for research
The increasing trend of buying and searching for deals in mobile devices are slowly decreasing the pressure to purchase items on Black Friday, because now deals and promotions are consistently reflected in mobile apps and on social media, and millennials are "less inclined to pull themselves away from their families and celebrations in order to enter the chaos of malls on Black Friday".
According to the last Mobile Marketer Survey, millennials are the most likely to combine mobile devices with their in-store shopping experience. More than 27% will "click & ship" meaning they'll use a mobile device or desktop to buy a product they first saw in a store. And, 61% of millennials will use a mobile device at some point as they browse and shop for the perfect gift.
40% of millennials "webroom" a product before they buy it. In other words, they perform research and compare prices before they buy the product online or in a store. Also, according to a survey from RetailMeNot, 93% of millennials will search for deals this holiday season.
2. The idea of a 'perfect' gift
23% of "millennials consider whether the recipient will post a photo of the gift on social media when buying a holiday gift." According to a survey from LoopCommerce, 52% of millennial gift buyers worry that their gift won't be good enough to post on social media when compared to 38% of baby boomers and 46% of Gen X respondents.
Millennials don’t like traditional gift cards. They much prefer to purchase gifts that are more unexpected, unique, and memorable when compared to the standard products such as gift cards. In fact, compared to other generations, only 33% of Millennials purchase gift cards compared to 36% for baby boomers and 39% for Generation X.
37% of millennial shoppers state that they present gifts to make themselves feel good, so they are more concerned about choosing a gift for its uniqueness and not its price. The need to purchase a perfect gift which is worthy to be a social media post make millennials more confident than any other generation when it comes to choosing the perfect gift.
3. Humanizing and presenting gifts to pets
According to a survey conducted by Harris Insights/OpenX, millennials plan to spend nearly $100 on their pets for Christmas. This is due to the growing trend, where pet owners treat their pets like family members known as “humanization”. As a result, premium pet food and toys are selling more.
35% of millennials own at least one pet. They constitute the largest pet-owning consumer segment and half of them buy gifts for their pets at least once a month. According to PWC's 2018 Holiday Outlook, millennials spend over 8% of their holiday budget on gifts for their pets.