Younger people more likely to spend more this holiday season

Halen Doughty
Holiday shopping at Grand Central Station.

With Thanksgiving now behind us, it's time to look ahead to Christmas. For many families, that means shopping for gifts. While most consumers plan to spend the same amount on gifts this year as they did last year, a report from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics finds younger shoppers are upping their holiday budgets this year.

The survey found that 54 percent of overall consumers plan to spend about the same this year as last year. But shoppers ages 18 to 34 are more likely to spend more over the previous year. Forty-six percent of respondents ages 18 to 24 aid they will spend more, and 39 percent of those polled ages 25 to 34 said the same.

“As Gen Z and Millennials gets 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.”

Popular gift items include clothing and accessories with 61 percent of consumers planning to purchase a fashionable gift. Fifty-nine percent will keep things simple with gift cards. Books, music, movies, or video games are on the list for 44 percent of holiday shoppers, and the number of those giving food or candy is up to 34 percent.

“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 consumers plan to purchase four gift cards on an average value of $45 per card. The most popular gift cards include those for restaurants, purchased by 36 percent of buyers. This is followed by department stores at 33 percent, Visa//Mastercard/American Express at 24 percent, coffee shops with 21 percent and entertainment at 18 percent.

Toys will also be on top of plenty of Christmas lists, as parents help Santa stuff stockings and fill space under the tree. For girls, Barbie is the most popular toy for a third straight year followed by traditional dolls. Other hot toys for girls include Hatchimals, LEGO, American Girl, My Little Pony, Disney Princess and Baby Alive. For boys, LEGO reigned supreme followed by video games. Other top toys include Hot Wheels, Star Wars items, Nerf, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, drones, and Paw Patrol.

Ninety-five percent of Americans plan to shop for the holidays this year. Eighty percent of those also plan to spend time with friends and family with half saying they will prepare a family feast. Sixty-three percent plan to give or receive gifts, and 45 percent say they will decorate their homes. Thirty-one percent plan to attend a religious service.

The survey also found that 38 percent of consumers will donate money to a charity, while 37 percent will donate items including holiday meals for needy families. Eighty percent of those donating say it will not affect their overall holiday spending.

These findings show the spirit of giving is alive and well this holiday season.

View study with infographics here.

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