Young Adults to Spend the Most This Holiday Season

Young adults are projected to spend the most this holiday season, according to a new consumer survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
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November 21, 2018

Young Adults to Spend the Most This Holiday Season

“This holiday season retailers will experience the growing purchasing power of Gen Z and Millennials,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer, NRF. “Whether they are still in college or raising children, these consumer groups embrace the tradition of prior generations to take full advantage of Thanksgiving weekend deals both online and in stores.”

Seventy-seven percent of all consumers polled said they would spend the same or more this year, while 43 percent of young adults (ages 18-24) and 38 percent of adults ages 25-34 said they would likely spend more. The number of shoppers 65 and older who said they would spend more declined year-over-year, with only 9 percent planning to pay more.

“Americans continue to engage in holiday traditions like spending time with family and friends, exchanging gifts and cooking a special meal,” says Phil Rist, executive vice president, strategy, Prosper Insights. “But today, those traditions include going online to research products and compare

prices to make informed purchasing decisions.” Fifty percent of consumers who own tablets or smartphones intend to use them to research their holiday purchases.

Most Popular Holiday Gifts of 2018

Clothing and accessories continue to perform well with 59 percent of shoppers intending to buy from either category; 56 percent expect to purchase gift cards; 41 percent will shop for toys; and 40 percent will go for books/ music and movies.

Gift card spending is up with projections of 29.9 billion this year compared to approximately $27.6 billion last year. Holiday shoppers plan to buy around four gift cards with roughly $49 on each. The most popular gift cards are for restaurants (36 percent); department stores (32 percent); coffee shops (22 percent); and entertainment (17 percent).

LEGOs are the top toys for boys, followed by cars, trucks and video games. Other leading properties include Hot Wheels, Marvel Action Figures/Toys, “Paw Patrol,” Nerf and gaming systems like the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation and Xbox.

Barbie continues to be the top request for girls for the fourth year in a row, followed by other dolls and L.O.L. Surprise! dolls. Other top toys include LEGOs, American Girl, Hatchimals and Disney Princess.

Consumer payment choices remained on par with 2017 with credit cards continuing to be the top method of payment, used by 42 percent of holiday shoppers. Debit cards will be used by 39 percent of shoppers while 17 percent plan to pay with cash and 2 percent with checks. Forty-four percent of shoppers will use emerging payment methods such as PayPal (35 percent), Apple Pay (8 percent), Samsung Pay and Google Wallet (both at 5 percent) and Venmo (4 percent).

Seven in 10 holiday shoppers intend to donate to charity, and 78 percent said doing so would not affect their holiday budgets. Older groups plan to give money while younger people plan to provide physical items.

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