Wallets Full, Shoppers Ready to Crank Up Holiday Spend

Millennials, parents are expected to spend generously on holiday gifts 

Author: Jen King

September 20, 2018

With consumer confidence hovering near record highs, consumers are set to bump up their holiday spending this year.


A survey from adtech company OpenX conducted earlier this month by The Harris Poll found that more than eight in 10 shoppers say they will spend at least as much as they did last year.  Fully 26% of respondents said they plan to spend more; 18% plan to reel in spending.

Millennials (those ages 18 to 34) and parents were particularly ready to open their wallets. On average, parents estimated they’ll spend upwards of $1,000 on gifts, compared with millennials’ planned $860 spend.

Underpinning shoppers' willingness to spend is a sense of financial stability. More than half of respondents (55%) believe the economy is better now than it was a year ago, and three-fourths are confident that economic improvement will continue. Interestingly, millennials were a bit less sanguine about the economy, with slightly less than half (48%) saying things are better now compared with last year. But like shoppers in general, they are optimistic, with 77% seeing improvements on the horizon.

OpenX’s findings echo a July 2018 survey from coupon website RetailMeNot, which found that one-third of US internet users plan to spend more on gifts in 2018 because they feel better about the economy as a whole. Those shoppers’ personal prosperity will also contribute to higher gift spend.

But just because shoppers are ready to spend doesn't mean they aren't looking for value. According to RetailMeNot, consumers are likely to spend a higher amount with retailers during the holidays if they keep low prices (67%), offer free shipping (64%) and have sales and discounts throughout the season (51%).

Last year, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) found that roughly 40% of holiday shoppers were influenced by deals when contemplating a holiday purchase.

According to eMarketer's latest estimates, the rate of overall US holiday season sales will rise 4.1% this year, while retail ecommerce sales will jump 16.2%. (Subscribers to eMarketer PRO can see the full details of the forecast here.)