Boomer Holiday Shopping Wrap-up

As the shopping days before Christmas dwindled down to a precious few, which generation procrastinated the most? According to the blizzard of holiday shopping surveys out there, it was the Boomers. 

A study by the National Retail Foundation found that Boomers are more likely to shop in the month of December than are Millennials. By the end of the first week of December, 17.8% of Boomers hadn’t started their shopping yet, compared to 10.9% of Millennials. Boomer men are even more likely to be last-minute shoppers. The biggest reason Boomers gave for waiting: “I’m still figuring out what to buy.” This indecision opens up opportunities for online and in-store retailers to offer helpful gift suggestions and guides that will get registers ringing.

Beyond the timing of Boomer purchases, there are other significant differences in their shopping habits compared to other generations:

I’ll Be Home for Black Friday 



A survey by Flagship Research found that Boomers were much less likely to hit the stores on Black Friday than other generations: Only 36% shopped on this day versus 50% of Millennials and 41% of Gen Xers. Even fewer well-off Boomers hit the stores on Black Friday - 90% of people 55 plus, with a household income of more than $75K, stayed home. 


While Millennials are big on treating themselves during the holidays, self-gifting tends to decline as people get older. Almost 80% of Millennials create a holiday wish list for themselves, compared with 57% of Generation Xers and just 38% of Boomers. Who are Boomers shopping for? They’re most likely to buy for their kids, followed by a spouse or partner. 

We Wish You a Mobile Christmas 

A study by Rhythm One found that 47.5% of the 55-plus crowd are using their mobile devices for holiday shopping. A recent Facebook survey also found that 30% of online purchases that resulted from online Facebook ads were made on mobile devices, and that older consumers are more likely to use tablets, while younger shoppers use smartphones. According to the Facebook research, many of us still use smartphones to do research but buy on desktops or in stores. 

Charging for Shipping is Naughty; Free is Nice 

Free shipping is important to all shoppers, but especially to Boomers. A survey by Flagship Research found that consumers aged 56-65 like free shipping the most of any group, while Millennials prefer online discounts.

Good Things Come in Small Packages

What did nonprofits targeting Boomers find in their stockings? A check. 

While Millennials tend to buy products that are associated with a good cause, Boomers are more likely to donate money to a favorite charity.

The holiday shopping countdown is over till next year. But marketers with visions of jingling registers dancing in their heads still have time to reach Boomers in the post-holiday sales.

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