With the holiday shopping season about to hit the home stretch, most consumers say they will spend about the same as last year. But a new survey shows that young adults (18-24 years old) are the most likely to show an increase in spending.
“As Gen Z and Millennials get older, their purchasing power increases, and the rise in disposable income is sure to be seen by retailers,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “This group of consumers has spent time carefully researching gifts for friends, family and themselves, and are ready to begin knocking out their shopping lists.”
The survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics found 54 percent of consumers overall plan to spend about the same as last year, with 24 percent planning to spend more. But among those ages 18-24 — which includes the oldest members of Generation Z — 46 percent say they will spend more than last year. The next-closest group was those aged 25-34 years old, with 39 percent planning to spend more.
Clothing and accessories will be bought by 61 percent of consumers, the same as last year, while 59 percent will give gift cards, up from 56 percent last year. Books, music, movies or video games will be given by 44 percent, the same as last year, while 41 percent will give toys, down from 42 percent. The number giving food or candy is up at 34 percent from 31 percent, and 29 percent will give electronics, down from 30 percent.
Gift cards as a popular low-risk option
“With an additional full shopping weekend this December, consumers will have plenty of time to browse and complete their holiday purchasing, whether it’s gifts for others or décor for their homes,” Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “Gift cards continue to be a popular low-risk option for gift givers, and this year we’re seeing food increase in favor as well. As Americans look to celebrate with even more of the special people in their lives, food serves as a great way to come together.”
Holiday shoppers plan to purchase an average of four gift cards with an average value of 45 dollars per card, the second most-popular gift after clothing. Spending on gift cards is expected to reach 27.6 billion dollars, up from last year’s estimated 27.5 billion dollars. The most popular gift cards include those for restaurants (purchased by 36 percent of buyers), department stores (33 percent), Visa/Mastercard/American Express (24 percent), coffee shops (21 percent) and entertainment (18 percent).
Credit cards are the most popular form of payment this year, used by 40 percent of shoppers, up from 39 percent last year. That’s tied with debit cards, which will also be used by 40 percent, the same as last year; 18 percent plan to pay with cash and 2 percent will use checks. Of emerging payment methods, PayPal will be used by 36 percent, Apple Pay by 7 percent, Samsung Pay and Google Wallet by 4 percent each and Venmo by 3 percent.
The survey, which asked 7,439 consumers about holiday shopping plans, was conducted October 31-November 7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.