Holiday Shopping Plans Are Generations Apart

Last week, on Sept. 22, the autumnal equinox occurred. This event meant summer 2014 had come to a close and fall 2014 had begun. And with fall beginning, America’s retailers and the companies that supply them with the goods and services they sell are focusing intently on the 2014 holiday shopping season. We discovered that some affluent consumers had already quietly started their shopping, and we gained some insights about how retailers will most likely fare during what is traditionally the No. 1 selling season of the year. 

As part of our most recent wave of our ongoing survey (completed in late August), we polled affluent adults (the top 42% of adults, about 99 million, who are 18 or older and live in households with household incomes of $75,000 or more) about their spending plans for the holidays. The following is what these very valuable consumers told us:

  • One in five (20%) had already started their holiday shopping and a surprisingly large percentage, about one in nine (11%), indicated they didn’t plan on doing any holiday shopping this year. Why do these millions of consumers not plan to shop for the holiday season? We didn't ask that question this year but definitely plan to ask it next year.
  • Four in five affluent consumers (81%) reported they planned to spend about the same as (66%) or more than (15%) last year, with about one in six (17%) stating they plan to spend less than last year. These plans suggest to us that, when the dust settles and the holiday retailing reports get published during January 2015, this year's holiday spending among the affluent will most likely be similar to last year’s levels.
  • These very important consumers indicated they are planning to spend almost $1,400 each ($1,387 on average per adult) on their holiday spending this year compared with about $900 for the average American adult. Notably about one in ten upscale consumers — or about ten million adults — reported they plan to spend $2,500 or more on their holiday shopping this year.
  • Among the ten major types of shopping venue measured in this holiday shopping survey, the #1 venue selected was the online-only store category (i.e., Amazon, eBay, etc.), with seven out of ten (71%) planning to shop at one or more of them. Discount stores, at 55%, came in at second place.
  • When asked what types of gifts from a list of 16 major categories they were planning to buy, these important shoppers chose gift cards as their No. 1 gift, with the majority (52%) stating gift cards were on their holiday shopping list. The No. 2 planned types of gift were toys at 36%, followed by video games at 31%. Notably, about one in eight (13%) reported they don’t yet know what they will be buying, which indicates that there are still millions of consumers to whom marketers can reach out and potentially influence what they buy.
  • Finally, when asked to estimate how much of their holiday spending would be done online, affluent consumers gave an average amount of 43%, indicating that many of them have now joined the omni-channel shopping world.



3 comments about "Holiday Shopping Plans Are Generations Apart".
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  1. Cindy Karalius from The Boston Globe, October 1, 2014 at 10:56 a.m.

    To be considered Affluent .. I don't consider $75K as a threshold.
    Should be minimum of $150K or more to be affluent.

  2. Brent Bouchez from Five0, October 1, 2014 at 1:27 p.m.

    Am I not reading correctly? The headline alludes to generational differences but I didn't see any reporting on that. Maybe I missed it?

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 6, 2014 at 11:02 p.m.

    The $75,000 threshold was the same threshold for affluent 20+ years ago, pre cell phones, pre tablets, pre --- well pre a lot of things including a lot of heavy duty inflation. Incorrect info in - incorrect info out.

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