Millennials, Social, Streaming Will Drive Holiday Spending: Survey

This year’s holiday shopping season will be driven by millennial spending, and heavily influenced by social media and streaming, according to a survey by HarrisX for Samba TV’s annual holiday report.

Three-quarters of U.S. adults, and 83% of millennials, plan to spend the same or more on holiday shopping this year than last year.   

Millennials plan to spend $1,474, on average, exceeding all other age groups by more than $600. Among millennials planning to spend more than last year, 40% say it’s because they’re in a better financial situation. The average planned spend across all adults is $978, and boomers plan to spend $626. 

Half of all adults plan to do an equal mix of in-store and online shopping. 

Social media and TV ads, along with family and friends, are the top three sources of gift ideas (above).   



Facebook and TikTok are the most influential social sources for millennials and Gen Zs, respectively: 

More than 80% of the adults use streaming services, while half have a cable or satellite TV subscription. 

Eighty-eight percent of millennials watch TV on their mobile phones, as do 91% of Zs, 73% of Gen Xers and 43% of boomers. 

Half of adults overall use social media while watching TV, and 33% shop online while watching TV. 

More than a third (37%) of millennials have used an on-screen QR code to make a purchase from a TV ad, and 85% have made an online purchase on their mobile phones.   

These behaviors underscore the importance of using social and TV ads for effective targeting, and creating attention-grabbing and if possible interactive ads to drive immediate purchases, notes the report.

“Consumer spending is steady despite the economic turmoil, but their approach to buying goods and services this holiday season is increasingly more diverse and disaggregated,” said HarrisX CEO Dritan Nesho. “To reach today’s hyperconnected consumers, retailers need disciplined and persistent multichannel strategies for both advertising and sales. These shoppers increasingly say their buying behavior is influenced as much by social media and streaming as it is by traditional advertising, and they usually partake in digital activities and purchasing concurrently and across multiple screens.”

Other findings:

For the first time in these annual surveys, consumers actually plan to spend more on themselves ($294, on average) than on gifts for their significant others ($197), and just a few dollars less than they plan to spend on children ($299). Average spend on extended family and parents are pegged at $70 and $60, respectively.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of consumers plan to buy clothing, and 28% plan to spend the most on clothing. The other categories that will generate the most spend include gift cards (55%), toys (38%), jewelry (27%), home electronics (26%), cosmetics (23%), smart phones/tablets and computers (21%) and sporting goods (20%).  

Most consumers are saying they’ll start shopping later this year. More than half (54%) plan to delay their holiday shopping until after Thanksgiving. But again, millennials are an exception: Fewer than half say they’ll wait until November to start shopping.

Nearly three quarters (70%) of adults overall plan to shop on Black Friday this year, with 34% overall and 48% of Gen Zs saying they’ll shop in-store on that day. 

Fifty-eight percent plan to shop online on Cyber Monday. 

"Most shoppers are planning to delay their holiday shopping until after Thanksgiving, making Black Friday and Cyber Monday crucial days for brands to capture attention and drive conversions this year,” says Ashwin Navin, co-founder and CEO of Samba TV. “And with the bulk of this year’s dollars spent planned for purchases for oneself, consumers are using these holiday sales to get in on deals for themselves.” 

The survey, which has a margin of error of plus/minus 2 percentage points, was conducted Aug. 22-30 with a sample of 2,507 U.S. adults weighted for age, gender, region, race/ethnicity, income, mobile carrier, streaming subscriptions, and party ID to be nationally representative. The sample included 1,043 cord cutters.

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