How do millennials shop for Christmas?

Almost everyone looks forward to Christmas shopping. Between sales, product launches, and the euphoric air of this season, shopping has become a staple activity of the Holidays. US parents know that better than anyone.

Consumption increases every year. For instance, in 2010, the average Christmas spending for Americans was $786. In 2016, it’s estimated to be around $935.

I want to dig deeper into these figures. I wonder what influences purchases during Holiday season, beyond the tradition of merely buying Christmas gifts. Is it the influence of the messages in social media and in the media in general? Is consumption related to age or nationality? Or is it a combination of it all? In the search for these answers, I found some figures from a group that keeps capturing my attention: Millennials.

In a survey carried out last year by Influensters about the shopping preferences of millennials, the following data stood out:

58% of generation Y says that social media posts and messages influence their buying behavior.
Other people’s opinions about products carry a lot of weight when millennials do Christmas shopping.
Other sources that influence millennials’ Christmas shopping are: Brands’ websites (47%), TV (28%), catalogs (24%) and magazines (24%).
In the United States, the top three shopping sites for millennials are: Target (85%), Amazon (70%) and Walmart (66%).

The power of branded messages on social media

Although millennials see social media messages as an important part of their shopping decisions, they’re not the only ones. According to a survey by Sprout Social, 58% of people, in general, feel influenced by messages shared on social media.

Meaning, these can’t be empty messages. The objective is to draw people in and generate sales, so, a discount is not enough to hook the public. Remember that millennials are fond of causes. Therefore, an emotional message is key and saying something of substance will win them over. How should that perfect social media post be? It must be compelling, it has to include the emotional side of the Holidays, and if it’s tied to a good cause, even better.

To completely understand the phenomenon of millennial Christmas shopping, it’s important to take into account some factors that affect the buying habits of this group. According to Kelton’s yearly survey, these factors are:

Millennials love to buy in the Holiday season: 60% of the respondents said they love Christmas shopping.
They’re great guests for Christmas dinners, as they will rarely show up empty handed. 25% of them will bring a wine bottle, which is fitting for the generation known as wine lovers.
Millennials are 40% more likely to buy a gift for themselves than boomers and generation X. They are also likely to keep a gift they bought for someone else.

This is a generation who loves to buy gifts, who surveys the online market, who takes product reviews seriously, and who likes to buy gifts for themselves. This generation relishes in the material joys of the Holidays. Brands have an extremely valuable opportunity to enter the minds of millennials during this season. These millennial shopping habits endure with time and some people adapt to the new trends.

Don’t forget the hidden reasons of the Christmas shopping euphoria and that social media and technology advancements have shaped the current shopping habits. With so many opportunities, failing to get our message across during the Holiday season would be a serious mistake.