Unwrapping Key Generational Differences in Holiday Shopping.
As the holidays approach, consumers are starting to make their plans for travel, parades, festivities – and of course, holiday shopping. Our 2022 Holiday Report found that 81% of gift-givers plan to spend the same as last year (or more), and gift cards once again top the list for both anticipated purchases and most-requested gifts. Of course, any gift-giver knows shopping for Dad is different than a sibling or young niece or nephew. Does that generational difference show up when it comes to preferred gift cards – or other shopping plans and tendencies? And what about sales and deals, brand communication and the influence of social media? Read on to learn more from our Holiday Report.
Consumers Rank the Top Gift Cards They Hope to Receive
Gift cards are a broad category, so it’s unsurprising to see generational differences show up when it comes to preferred types of gift cards. Which card categories did each generation rank as their most-requested?
The top two preferences – Visa/Mastercard/American Express and online retailers – were universal. Differences started to show immediately after, with the Gen Xers and Boomers, two older generations, more interested in restaurant/dining than big box and more inclined to want a grocery card than the younger two generations. Gen Z, meanwhile, had the most markedly different top five, with both clothing and gaming ranking higher than restaurants and dining.
Social Media’s Impact on Holiday Shoppers
Where are shoppers getting their ideas for the perfect gift? Many consumers report they are adding the digital scroll of social media feeds to the time-honored tradition of window-shopping. Nearly one-third of all holiday shoppers said social media is likely to influence what they purchase this holiday season, with the younger generations leading the way.
Here’s how each generation of holiday gift-givers responded when asked how likely social media is to influence what they purchase this holiday season:
As might be expected, the younger the generation, the more likely they are to be influenced by social media. This trend also held up when asked about previous purchases and whether they’re expecting to be influenced more strongly this year than last.
I’ve purchased items I discovered on social media in the past:
Social media is likely to influence my holiday shopping more this year than last:
Sure enough, Gen Z were leaders in using social media for their holiday commerce, while Baby Boomers lagged significantly behind all other generations. Among those who had previously purchased items discovered on social media, Gen Z remained the generation most likely to be influenced by social media again this year, though all generations reported growth – even Boomers had nearly half of previous social media shoppers indicating they’d be even more influenced this year.
It’s also common to associate different generations with different social media platforms – and assume younger generations will be the early adopters to the latest platforms. Does that assumption hold up for holiday shoppers?
Which platform is most likely to influence your holiday shopping?
Gen Z was the only group to break ranks from Facebook as its top influencer. As might be expected, Facebook’s sway (by percentage of respondents) correlated with the age of each generation, while Tik Tok’s and Instagram’s influence declined as the age group increased.
Where’s the Deal?
Shoppers of all ages are still keeping an eye out for the best deals as well – including online and offline channels and in-store promotions. Where are the different generations hoping to find that latest and greatest deals during their gifting season?
How do you prefer to find about sales, deals and promotions during the holidays?
- Gen Z 67% 67%
- Millennials 64% 64%
- Gen X 57% 57%
- Baby Boomers 54% 54%
Social media ads
- Gen Z 69% 69%
- Millennials 63% 63%
- Gen X 47% 47%
- Baby Boomers 37% 37%
- Gen Z 73% 73%
- Millennials 74% 74%
- Gen X 69% 69%
- Baby Boomers 62% 62%
- Gen Z 57% 57%
- Millennials 56% 56%
- Gen X 46% 46%
- Baby Boomers 39% 39%
SMS or push notifications
- Gen Z 56% 56%
- Millennials 50% 50%
- Gen X 34% 34%
- Baby Boomers 20% 20%
Retailers preparing for holiday shoppers should take note of generational differences – and work to align their messaging and product selection to their desired demographics. Knowing which gift cards each generation is likely to prefer, how they want to find out about deals and promotions, and which social platforms will be influencing them during the holidays can help savvy retailers target different demographics with the messaging most likely to resonate.
For more festive insights, read the full 2022 Holiday Report at www.InComm.com/Holiday-Web-Report/.