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Older Millennials Will Be Avid Social Media Users for Thanksgiving Weekend Shopping Inspiration

US retailers are preparing for the biggest shopping weekend of the year, with an estimated 164 million people plan to shop Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, according to the NRF/Prosper Insights & Analytics annual survey released November 16. Coresight Research is forecasting at least a 4% gain in 2018 holiday sales, with online sales growth expected to be in low to mid-double digits.

Thanksgiving marks the official beginning of holiday shopping, though many shoppers began as early as last January to take advantage of 60%-80% off sales for holiday decorations. While January is too early for most, retailers acknowledge that the traditional calendar markers have blurred, and Christmas in July is a familiar promotion for many early shoppers.

Base: US Internet users ages 18+ who plan to shop Thanksgiving weekend
Source: Prosper Insight & Analytics/Coresight Research

According to the NRF/Prosper Insights & Analytics survey of 7,516 consumers conducted October 29–November 7, 45.1% of consumers haven’t begun shopping for the holidays yet, and 2.7% are finished shopping. The gift that most (58.9% of those planning to shop) plan to give this year is clothing, followed by gift cards (56.4%), toys (40.8%) and media (40.1%).

Black Friday will be the busiest day: 70.7% of those who said they plan to shop Thanksgiving weekend will shop on Black Friday, equating to an estimated 116 million people. This is followed by Small Business Saturday (41.3% of those planning to shop, or an estimated 67 million people), with Cyber Monday wrapping up the shopping weekend (46.1% of those planning to shop, an estimated 75 million people). Shops open Thanksgiving day will see shoppers, as 21.1% of those planning to shop will do so Thanksgiving Day.

Shopping or Not?

When asked if they are likely to go shopping this Thanksgiving weekend, either online or in stores, there was a 160-basis point (bps) jump in survey respondents who said yes, a 10 bps increase in those saying they will not shop during Thanksgiving weekend and a 170 bps drop in consumers who said they may shop.

Source: Prosper Insight & Analytics/Coresight Research

In terms of where consumers find inspiration, 47.3% of those surveyed said they will go online – the same as 2012. Some 40.7% of those surveyed will rely on friends and family, up slightly from 2012’s 40.4%. TV advertisements remain an important source of gifting inspiration for 27.7% of adults, down significantly from 2012’s 35.4%. Shoppers continue to find in-store inspiration as well, with 37.8% citing instore as a source of inspiration, down from 45.2% in 2012.

Traditional Media Remains a Significant Source of Inspiration

While social media has risen in terms of being a source of inspiration in the aggregate for adults, from 22.9% in 2012 to 37.5% in 2018. Facebook is down 320 bps year over year to 13.2% and virtually flat to 2012’s 13.3%. Instead, shoppers are looking more to Pinterest and Instagram: 10.3% of respondents say they will look to Pinterest, while 8.8% will look to Instagram.

Source: Prosper Insight & Analytics/Coresight Research

Surprisingly, a greater percentage of millennials, 29.6% of younger millennials aged 18–24 and 31.7% of older millennials, aged 25–34, find inspiration on TV. Some 41.8% of older millennials will use in-store experiences for inspiration, versus 39.5% of younger millennials and 37.8% of adults.

Traditional media and advertising, such as store circulars, catalogs, direct mail and magazines, remain significant sources of gift giving inspiration. While 28.1% of the overall adult population will rely on advertising circulars, just 15.2% of older millennials (the 25–34 age group) will. In our Consumer Shopping Insights for Holiday 2018 report we note the older millennial plans to spend an average of $947 this holiday, versus $573 for younger millennials, and $1,007 for all adults. See Figure 3 for traditional media and intended use by adults generally, and younger and older millennials.

Source: Prosper Insight & Analytics/Coresight Research
 New Media Outlets Will be Heavily Used by Older Millennials

Older millennials plan to use social media as a source of inspiration, more than any other demographic. Instagram will be the greatest social media source of inspiration, with 25.1% of 25–34-year-old consumers expected to use Instagram. Facebook came in second place, with 22.9% of the 25–34 age group planning to use the platform to find inspiration for gifts. Figure 4 displays new media and its intended use by adults generally, and younger and older millennials.

Source: Prosper Insight & Analytics/Coresight Research