The FINANCIAL -- U.S. consumers expect to spend more money on holiday shopping this year than last year, with millennials likely to be the biggest spenders according to results of the 12th Annual Holiday Shopping Survey from Accenture.
The online survey of 1,500 U.S. consumers found that Americans will spend $658 on holiday shopping this year, on average, compared with $632 in the 2017 survey. Nine in 10 respondents said they plan to spend as much or more than they did last year – 53 percent and 36 percent, respectively – with only 11 percent planning to spend less. Older millennials will spend $779, on average, while nearly four times as many younger millennials compared to baby boomers (49 percent versus 13 percent) said they plan to spend more this holiday season.
The research also found that retailers’ inclusion and diversity practices – with regards to age, gender, ethnicity and disability etc. – are playing a role in millennial shoppers’ purchasing decisions. The findings suggest that if a retailer is not authentically committed to prioritizing inclusion and diversity, millennials are likely to take their money to a competitor who is inclusive:
54 percent of younger millennials surveyed believe that retailers have a responsibility and duty toward addressing wider social and political issues with regards to diversity.
51 percent of younger millennials are more likely to shop at a retailer that demonstrates awareness of such issues.
Millennials are more likely to choose one brand over another if that brand demonstrates inclusion and diversity in terms of its promotions and offers (cited by 70 percent of younger millennial respondents and 69 percent of older millennials), their in-store experience (66 percent of younger and 72 percent of older millennials), their product range (68 percent of younger and 70 percent of older millennials), and their environmental awareness (61 percent of younger and 57 percent of older millennials).
31 percent of younger millennials see diversity in the workplace – with regards to staffing, as an important attribute when it comes to deciding where to shop.
Some other key findings from the survey:
With growing consumer confidence, shoppers are less price-sensitive. Consumers appear less concerned with the economy and their overall financial situation than they were last year – with one-third less likely (15 percent, versus 23 percent last year) to cite “a concern about the economy” as a factor negatively affecting their holiday shopping this year. They were also less likely to cite “healthcare costs,” “mortgage payments,” “the prospect of higher taxes,” and “a recent job loss or the fear of losing their job.” This could be one reason why fewer shoppers plan to take advantage of retailers’ cost-savings programs or benefits – such as loyalty programs, on-the-spot competitor price-matching, special e-mail offers, Amazon Prime Day, and deal sites such as Groupon or Living Social. In addition, the number of respondents who said they would buy all their gifts in one place even if it meant paying more increased 7 points, to 32 percent this year, according to Accenture.
Service and/or “experience” gift-buying is on the rise. The research identified a growing trend away from product gifts such as toys, clothes and household appliances and toward “experience” gifts such as travel, dining out, concerts and the theatre, as well as toward “services” gifts such as lawncare, home cleaning and spa treatments. In fact, the number of shoppers who said they plan to buy physical products as gifts this year dropped 11 percentage points from last year, to 73 percent, and the number who said they planned to buy experience or service gifts increased 5 percentage points, to 49 percent.
Social media is growing as a shopping platform. The use of social media platforms for holiday shopping is growing rapidly. The percentage of respondents planning to use social-media sites for their holiday shopping this year nearly doubled, to 15 percent from 8 percent last year. In addition, the percentage who said they check Instagram before looking or buying elsewhere online more than doubled, to 14 percent from just 6 percent last year.