What Millenials Are Shopping For in 2016

Millennials will be spending money this coming Holiday season on a large variety of items; and if economic indicators are correct, they will be spending a lot more this year than last year.

A new consumer survey shows that nearly forty percent of Millennials began their Holiday shopping in September.

It’s forecast that this year Millennials will spend an average of $1428 on Holiday shopping, which compares to only $1078 for 2015. Baby boomers, however, will still be outspending them, averaging just over $1700.

72% of Millennials plan to do at least half of all their holiday shopping online. Reasons cited include avoiding traffic and parking jams, and the ease and security with which online purchases can now be transacted. In fact, one in four Millennials now says that he or she will not be visiting any physical stores at all for their Holiday shopping.

As marketers grow more sophisticated in discovering and exploiting niche markets, the range of online choices for Millennials is staggering. Everything from breadfruit marzipan to luxurious lingerie for the ladies to cool things to buy for men. If it exists, you can get it online – and if it doesn’t exist, you can contact somebody online to make it for you on a 3-D printer!

shopping with a credit card.
Millennials shop online with credit cards.

The breakdown of Millennial shopping preferences this season is roughly:

  • 68% gift cards
  • 20% for clothing
  • 12% for tech and/or toys

And it appears that Millennials prefer ordering online from Amazon rather than Walmart, 2 to 1.

Dell estimates more than a third of online shoppers use their mobile devices, but that convenience could leave them vulnerable.

Hackers are getting quite sophisticated as shoppers move to their mobile devices. Security experts say there are a few strategies that consumers can adopt to keep from becoming victims.

This year the National Cybersecurity Alliance put together a tip sheet encouraging people to be cyber-smart shoppers. One of the warnings is to be wary of free public Wi-Fi hot spots. Making purchases on these open Wi-Fi ports can leave you vulnerable to hackers and free Wi-Fi offered in stores can sometimes be used by those stores to track your browsing.

When shopping for themselves this year, a majority of Millennials said they would be purchasing a big ticket item, such as furniture or a widescreen TV – or else they want to blow a wad on a foreign vacation/luxury cruise.

According to Jeff Foyle, a demographic sales researcher: “All our recent surveys show that consumers are beginning their shopping sprees earlier than ever before. They feel this gives them more control over how, when, and where they spend their money. It also gives them better control over debt; because the earlier in the year you put something on your credit card, the easier it is to get it paid off in a reasonable amount of time.” Retailers should be optimistic about this surge in Holiday spending that’s predicted for this year. Its not a time to play it cautious, but to take a few more marketing and retailing risks than usual – it could add up to a significant boost for the bottom line.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.