Millennials plan to spend more this year for the holidays.

U.S. consumers are expected to spend on average $658 on holiday shopping this year, up from $632 last year, with older Millennials expected to spend $779.

Furthermore, nearly four times as many younger Millennials compared to Baby Boomers — or 49 percent versus 13 percent — said they plan to spend more this holiday season, according to Accenture‘s 12th Annual Holiday Shopping Survey.

The Accenture study also found that retailers’ inclusion and diversity practices regarding age, gender, ethnicity and disability are playing a role in Millennial shoppers’ purchasing decisions. The findings indicate that if a retailer is not authentically committed to prioritizing inclusion and diversity, Millennials are likely to take their business to a competitor who is inclusive, the report concluded.

Jill Standish, senior managing director and head of Accenture‘s retail practice, said, “Our research suggests that the Millennial generation has high expectations when it comes to retailers’ commitment to inclusion and diversity, and those values are influencing their decision-making in choosing one brand over another.”

The report noted that of the 1,500 consumers surveyed online, 54 percent of younger Millennials said that retailers have a responsibility and duty toward addressing wider social and political issues with regards to diversity. In addition, 31 percent of younger Millennials see diversity in the workplace, with regard to staffing, as an important attribute when it comes to deciding where to shop. Accenture also included data that indicated Millennials are more likely to choose one brand over another if that brand demonstrates inclusion and diversity in terms of its promotions and offers, according to 70 percent of younger Millennial respondents and 69 percent of older Millennials. Also key is a retailer’s in-store experience, product range and environmental awareness.

Standish noted, “National and multinational retailers serve diverse customer bases, so they need to position the brand accordingly — its messaging as well as its product selection. That will require not just more local decision-making, but also assistance from analytics tools that enable retailers to build a granular picture of their customers.”

Other findings indicate that shoppers are less price-sensitive, given the growth in consumer confidence. Specifically, 15 percent — versus 23 percent in 2017 — said they are less likely to cite a “concern about the economy” as a factor to negatively affect their holiday shopping this year, such as health-care costs, mortgage payments, or a recent job loss or fear of losing their job.

On the rise are service and/or “experience” gift-buying, such as travel, dining out, concerts, home cleaning and spa treatments. That translates to less buying of product gifts, such as toys, apparel and household appliances.

Finally, social media is growing as a shopping platform, with the percentage of respondents planning to use social-media sites for their holiday shopping this year nearly doubling to 15 percent from 8 percent in 2017. And, according to Accenture, the percentage who said they check Instagram before looking and buying elsewhere online more than doubled to 14 percent from just 6 percent last year.

Standish said, “Now, more than ever, it’s imperative for retailers to further rethink and redesign their digital shopping capabilities and methods so they can meet customers on their terms.”

 

Experiences, such as spa treatments, are expected to be a key gift-giving option.  Shutterstock / Y Photo Studio

 

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