Unwrapping What Millennial Holiday Shoppers Want in 2016

by | Sep 27, 2016 | Customer Engagement, eCommerce | 0 comments

September is ending, and before we know it the holiday season will be in full swing. Retailers like Target and Michael’s are already selling Christmas items! Various studies have suggested that millennial holiday shoppers will spend $1,427 on average in this holiday season—up 33.1% from last year. It’s quite clear that they will emerge as the ultra-influencers. Here’s the full rundown of their shopping preferences.

Millennial Holiday Shoppers Want Digitally Native Credit:

Millennials are moving away swiftly from the traditional credit cards used by their parents. In fact, 63% of millennials now say they do not have a credit card. As they dwell on digital platforms almost all the time, they want a payment option that is digitally native. PayPal and Koski Research has also confirmed that online credit may be a way to help encourage more holiday purchase volume and win over millennial holiday shoppers.

A closer look at is also revealing the fact that millennials are the fastest rising segment of PayPal Credit shoppers. Consequently, retailers should integrate digital credit options into the online buying experience to attract millennials. This generation is smart enough to know the ways to save money by keeping fees to a minimum, which is never the case with credit cards, while engaged in shopping. Digital credit is a great and feasible way to achieve that.

Millennial Holiday Shoppers Want to Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store:

There is no doubt that online shopping has become an integral part of the way millennials shop, but that doesn’t mean that physical stores are completely out of fashion. In fact, an Accenture study found that millennials actually prefer to shop in stores, where they can touch and feel products before deciding to buy them. They also enjoy the immediacy of the in-store experience. Besides, errors such as shipping and handling mistakes or inventory problems also get nullified. That’s why, according to eMarketer, 50% of shoppers ages 21-39 are planning to use in-store pickup as a method for shopping. Thus, you must provide a streamlined shopping experience across both your online store and your brick-and-mortar shop. Millennial customers expect to see the same merchandise — at the same prices — in both places.

Millennial Holiday Shoppers Want to Buy More Gifts – For Themselves:

Of course, gifting a present to your loved ones has always been part of every holiday season. But there is a shift in this trend. Now millennials want to buy something for themselves too. 43% of all shoppers said they planned to buy something for themselves this holiday season, while 64% of millennial holiday shoppers reported that they’ll get at least 1 gift for themselves.

Indeed, it’s a huge opportunity for marketers. This gifting to one’s own self needs to be capitalized. Marketers can do this by creating extremely personal and relatable communication around their products or brands. A targeted way of marketing may work well where you can study what customer likes and dislikes and through emails or mobile messages you can increase the visibility of the products which are closest to their likings.

Millennial Holiday Shoppers Respond to Strategic Pricing:

Millennials are very touchy when it comes to pricing. The Accenture study pointed out that 41% of respondents said that they “shop around” for the same product at a lower price point at various retailers before coming to the final buying decision. It doesn’t need any special business acumen to understand that marketers will have to be very, very strategic and clever while deciding the prices.

If you don’t want to play around your prices, the other way is to think how to make your pricing structure more appealing and attractive, like a discount for in-store pickup or extra savings and perks for spending above a certain threshold. After all, 88% percent of millennials say that they would consider buying online and picking up in the store to save $10 on a $50 item.  So, you can devise a system which will reward millennials from all the touch points.

Millennial Holiday Shoppers Live and Breathe Mobile:

According to the Rubicon Project’s second annual Holiday Consumer Pulse Poll, 58% of millennials said they plan to shop on their mobile devices. Even though the importance of mobile commerce is hardly new, its impact is still growing. As per Rakuten Marketing, m-commerce grew 10x in a year-over-year analysis from 2014 to 2015. Sales went up 162% from 2014 to 2015 during Black Friday, compared to just a 69% increase in sales on desktops. And that was just Black Friday – Cyber Monday (93%), Manic Monday (107%), and Boxing Day (170%) all had significant increases in sales within the Rakuten Affiliate Network. But you can further enhance the utility of mobile phones by pushing it out from the boundary of a mere shopping destination. App tracking and mobile-optimized content are the two most important factors to keep in mind for mobile this holiday season. Till now, more or less, marketers were concerned about tracking web activity only. But with the help of tracking in-app activity, marketers as well as advertisers will understand how millennials are engaging with their apps and the products listed on apps. Naturally, mobile friendly content helps in reaching more millennials and it can have a strong positive impact on your brand during the holiday season.

But you can further enhance the utility of mobile phones by pushing it out from the boundary of a mere shopping destination. App tracking and mobile-optimized content are the two most important factors to keep in mind for mobile this holiday season. Till now, more or less, marketers were concerned about tracking web activity only. But with the help of tracking in-app activity, marketers as well as advertisers will understand how millennials are engaging with their apps and the products listed on apps. Naturally, mobile friendly content helps in reaching more millennials and it can have a strong positive impact on your brand during the holiday season.

To Conclude… The way millennials think, function and shop is different than their previous generations. There is no guarantee that shopping ploys that worked for their parents, will work for them too. They want more ways to interact with your brand along with the touch of technology. Listen to these requirements and try to implement them in your scheme of things. Believe it or not, millennials are going to become the major driving force during this holiday season!

To get a complete picture of how this holiday season will turn out, take a look at the hottest retail trends for holiday 2016!. You can also read here to enhance the loyal behavior of your customers during the holiday season.

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