Here’s What Will Influence Millennial Holiday Purchase Decisions

Consumers expect to spend more this holiday season than in the past, according to new research by Accenture.

The “12th Annual Accenture Holiday Shopping Survey” found that Millennials, in particular, will shell out the most compared with other generations. The study, which surveyed 1,500 U.S. consumers, also looked into what’s driving Millennial purchase intent. The consensus? Millennials are more likely to buy from brands that demonstrate inclusion and diversity.

Indeed, 70% of younger Millennial respondents (ages 21 to 27) and 69% of older Millennials (ages 28 to 37) stated that a brand’s focus on diversity and inclusion in promotions and offers influenced their purchase decisions. Furthermore, 66% of younger and 72% of older Millennials said they expect diversity and inclusion in the store experience and within a brand’s product range (68% of younger and 70% of older Millennials).

“Millennials expect more representative messaging and marketing than generations past,” said Jill Standish, senior managing director and head of Accenture’s retail practice. “They want to see dads in the supermarket, different ethnic backgrounds, representation of the LGBT community, as well as those with disabilities, and they want body size and body type to be diverse and inclusive. And I think the fact that this younger generation can feel that and care about that is wonderful. It’s sending a message to retailers, and it’s something that retailers are really going to have to pay attention to.”

Additionally, the study found that as Millennials grow to become the majority of shoppers, the role of social media as a shopping platform will grow, too. The percentage of respondents who said they plan to use social media sites for their holiday shopping this year nearly doubled to 15%, from 8% last year. In addition, the percentage of consumers who said they check Instagram before looking or buying elsewhere online more than doubled to 14%, from 6% last year.

So what are consumers going to buy this holiday season? The research identified a growing trend away from product gifts such as toys, clothes, and household appliances and  toward more “experience” gifts, such as travel, dining out, and concerts, as well as toward “services” gifts such as lawn care, home cleaning, and spa treatments. The number of shoppers who said they plan to buy physical products as gifts this year dropped to 73%, down 11 percentage points from last year.

“Even though it’s still a relatively small amount, social will continue to go up year over year, and retailers need to prepare for that,” Standish told CMO.com.

Another interesting trend uncovered: Many consumers said they plan to be “home for the holidays,” with more than one-third (35%) of survey respondents who said they are planning to host holiday gatherings this year. Millennials are leading the holiday-hosting trend, with younger Millennials 50% more likely to host a Thanksgiving meal than other generations (62% versus 41%).

With the growth of hosting at home, Accenture included the grocery category as a new addition to this year’s survey. The key finding: Quality matters, and shoppers are willing to pay more for it. Eighty-six percent cited quality as “important” or “very important.”

“This year is a big opportunity for grocers to potentially attract a new customer base,” Standish said. “And if you make it a memorable experience, they might come back.”

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