Baby boomers and Gen X will lead holiday spending this year, according to the 2019 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey from The NPD Group.
Gen Z plans to spend the least of all generations, while Gen X will spend the most. The majority of millennials will shop online, but Gen Zers will shop online less than their millennial and Gen X counterparts.
Fifty-seven percent of baby boomers plan to start shopping before Thanksgiving, and are most likely to shop at department stores and national chains compared to other generations. The survey was conducted in September with 3,485 respondents.
As the generations continue to battle for domination on social media and beyond, NPD's survey points out how critical each age group is to a successful holiday season for retailers. "No consumer can be left behind in today's increasingly competitive retail environment where shoppers demand a more personalized approach than ever before," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor at The NPD Group. "In order to win the holiday retail battle, marketers need to address holiday shoppers across every generation, and also make them feel like they matter."
Gen Z in particular is one age group where a win this holiday season could have long-term benefits for retailers. While these younger shoppers gravitate toward small-ticket items now, their buying power will increase in the years to come. Retailers wishing to lock down this demographic to build extended brand loyalty should keep both online and in-person experiences top of mind, as younger shoppers still visit stores frequently.
By having a double focus on physical shopping experiences and online ones, brands can ensure their positive perception among older shoppers as well. And that focus will have to be maintained from now through the new year to accommodate shoppers checking off their lists using a variety of shopping methods — in-person, online, on mobile devices or a mix of the three. As the late Thanksgiving holiday pushes peak shopping season back into early December, retailers will need to aim to please well past Black Friday.