Holiday generation gap—women’s shopping trends and economic outlook

by | Dec 3, 2018 | Marketing, Public Relations

As we approach the important holiday buying season, how do women feel about the state of the economy?

A new survey of over 2,000 women from women’s influencer platform SheSpeaks and PR and digital marketing agency Lippe Taylor conducted this fall shows that only 3 percent of women ages 18-24 believe the economy is getting better compared to 28 percent of those aged 46-55. The research also shows that more women plan to do most of their holiday shopping online than those who say they’ll do most of their shopping offline. Also, of interest:

  • Women would rather have the gift of time than money
  • Most women admit to having re-gifted something they’ve been given
  • Two-thirds would rather receive a gift card to choose their own gift
  • Almost half plan to buy a present for their pet this holiday season

These are just some of the questions answered by the latest SheSpeaks/Lippe Taylor Women’s Buying Behavior Index, which helps predict women’s shopping habits during the holiday season and provides insights into their feelings on the current state of the economy.

“The low expectations about the economy among women 18-24 is one data point that stood out. This ‘Optimism Gap’ is something that brands and retailers should keep in mind when trying to understand the shopping mindset of younger women this holiday season,” said Maureen Lippe, CEO of Lippe Taylor, in a news release.

“We’ve gone past the tipping point for online shopping in the holiday season,” said Aliza Freud, CEO of SheSpeaks, in the release. “This year more people plan to buy primarily online than those who will primarily shop at brick and mortar stores.”

Highlights from the Index include:

More women think the economy is declining than improving

  • 28 percent believe the current state of the economy is declining
  • 24 percent believe it is improving

The “Optimism Gap”—younger women have much less faith that the economy is improving

Only 3 percent of women 18-24 believe the economy is improving. All other age groups were significantly higher:

  • 19 percent of 25-34-year-olds
  • 22 percent of 35-45-year-olds
  • 28 percent of 46-55-year-olds

Yet, retailers can relax… a little

Fifty-six percent of women say their feelings about the economy won’t impact how much they spend on holiday shopping this season.

What’s in this year? e-tail shopping and planning. What’s out? Shopping on Christmas Eve

  • Cyber Monday (62 percent) has passed Black Friday (53 percent) as the biggest national shopping day
  • For retailers keeping their stores open on Thanksgiving Day, plan to cater to the under 25 crowd – 21 percent of those surveyed planned to shop on the holiday (vs. only 9.5 percent of those 46+).
  • And for those stores planning to stay open on Christmas Eve, only 9 percent of women surveyed plan to shop on Christmas Eve

‘Tis the season for Cyber Santa?

More women will use online shopping as their primary channel vs. offline, though a 50/50 mix is the most common response

  • 42 percent of women will do 50% of their shopping online and 50% offline
  • 25 percent said 75% of the shopping will be done online and 25% will be done offline
  • 16 percent said about 75% of the shopping will be done offline and 25% online
  • 10 percent said all or almost all will be done online
  • 7 percent said all or almost all will be done offline

For brands that want more than their fair share of holiday sales, she’s getting her gift inspiration from…

  • 68 percent — Browsing in stores
  • 62 percent — Retailer’s website
  • 54 percent — Product recommendations from friends and family
  • 42 percent — Posts from friends/influencers on social media

She knows what she wants… so give her gift cards! And, she’d rather receive a book than jewelry

Sixty-seven percent of women surveyed say gift cards and cash are at the top of their wish list. It seems women prefer to buy their own gifts than trust others to shop for them

  • 56 percent — Clothing/accessories
  • 43 percent — Beauty products
  • 36 percent — Kitchen and small housewares
  • 33 percent — Books
  • 32 percent — Personal technology (tablets, mobile phones, gaming devices)
  • 28 percent — Travel/experiential gift
  • 26 percent — Jewelry

What does she really wish for most? The gift of time. It wins out over health, happiness or money

  • 41 percent — Time with family
  • 25 percent — Happiness
  • 24 percent — Health
  • 9 percent — Prosperity

She’s not sure if she’s giving back this holiday season

While the holidays are often a time to make charitable donations, this holiday season she’s not yet sure of her giving-back plans

  • 41 percent weren’t yet sure if they plan on giving an “End of Year” donation to charity
  • When asked what gifts were at the top of her wish list this holiday season, only 12 percent said charitable items (donation or product with proceeds going to charity)

She is getting away with regifting… and don’t give her a candle if you want her to keep it

Fifty-five percent of women surveyed say they have re-gifted a gift for the holidays

Most common items to regift?

  • Jewelry
  • Candles
  • Lotion
  • Wine Accessories
  • The strangest thing someone regifted? Deer Jerky!

Who gives the best gifts? Hint: it’s not her in-laws or her friends

When asked who gave you the best holiday gift ever, 37 percent chose their spouse/partner, 24 percent their parents, 17 percent children, with friends (only 4 percent) and in-laws (1 percent) lagging well behind

Good news for pets (and pet stores)

  • 49 percent of women say they plan to buy gifts for their pets this year
  • Interestingly, when asked what influences the gifts you buy for your pet, 33 percent of participants said their actual pet

Baby boomers prefer in-store browsing

Twenty-five percent of baby boomers said browsing in stores influences their pet purchases, while only 17 percent of people ages 25 and under said browsing in stores influences their pet purchases

Finally, if you’re trying to agree on a holiday movie for the family to watch, good luck…

  • 24 percent of Baby Boomers (55+) prefer “It’s a Wonderful Life”
  • 32 percent of GenZ and Millennials ages 18-24 favor “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”
  • Overall, “The Grinch” was the top choice across all women surveyed at 19 percent

The “SheSpeaks/Lippe Taylor Women’s Buying Behavior Index” was fielded between October 10th-20th, 2018 comprising a random and representative sample of over 2,000 women ages 24-60 from across the United States.

Lippe Taylor She Speaks

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter