The Affluent Generations Really Differ In Their Holiday Shopping Plans

It's early November, and affluent shoppers are really starting to shop for the holidays. By the time the turkeys are on the table on Thanksgiving Day, the majority of all affluents (72 million of the 99 million adults living in households with household incomes of $75,000 or more) will have started their holiday shopping, according to what they told us in our most recent survey.

There are many ways to segment and target these valuable shoppers — for example, by gender and whether they live in households with incomes of $75,000 to $249,999 or in households with incomes of $250,000 or more. Recent discussions with retailers reveal that their current focus is on understanding how the 91 million affluents who plan to shop this holiday season differ by generation.

Are the Millennials’ holiday shopping plans different from the Gen Xers’, etc.? Based on the small number of Senior affluents who are planning to do any holiday shopping this holiday season, about 5 million, this column will focus solely on affluent Millennials, Gen Xers, and Boomers.



Here’s what these affluent generations told us about their holiday shopping plans:

  • When asked about their 2015 holiday spending plans, almost a third (31%) of the affluent Millennials indicated they are planning to spend more for the holidays this year compared with last year. As the affluents age, their plans to spend more than last year decline, with 24% of the affluent Gen Xers and about one in eight of the Boomers (12%) planning to spend more than last year. 
  • When asked how much they were planning to spend this holiday season, though, the affluent Millennials plan to spend the least $1,200 per adult on average, while affluent Gen Xers plan to spend $1,850 on average, and affluent Boomers forecast an average of $1,250.
  • Among the major types of shopping venues measured in this holiday shopping survey, the number one spot selected was the online-only store category (Amazon, eBay, etc.), with about eight out of ten (78%) of affluent Boomers planning to shop at one of more of them. Almost two-thirds of affluent Millennials (63%) and more than half of affluent Gen Xers (57%) are also planning to shop at online-only stores.
  • When asked what types of gifts from a list of 21 major categories they were planning to buy, the three generations made different choices. The affluent Millennials' number one holiday shopping selection is designer products (52%), while affluent Gen Xers favor home and personal electronics (53%), and affluent Boomers focus on gift cards (50%).
  • Finally, when asked how much of their total holiday spending amount would be spent online, the affluent Gen Xers, on average, estimate almost half (49%) will be spent online, affluent Millennials estimate 43%, and affluent Boomers estimate 42%.

Bottom line: the 91 million affluent holiday shoppers are planning to spend more this holiday season than last, but their holiday shopping plans clearly differ according to their generation.

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