So, what are millennials going to spend their money on this holiday season?
According to Rubicon Project’s second annual Holiday Consumer Pulse Poll, nearly a third of shoppers began their holiday shopping before Labor Day, and millennials are even further ahead of the curve when it comes to getting a jump on holiday shopping.
Almost half of millennials — 39 percent — have already begun making holiday purchases, according to the survey. However, millennials are not as far ahead of the game as their parents, as 47 percent of them have already begun their holiday shopping (the consumer average was 31 percent).
Millennials also plan to spend considerably more this holiday season than last year, with the average millennials planning to spend $1,427 this holiday season compared to $1,072 last year, a difference of 33 percent, “making them a driving force for the overall year-over-year increase in spending,” according to the study. In total, 54 percent of millennials said they planned to spend more this year than last year. Non-millennials responded that they planned to spend an average of $1,098 this holiday shopping season.
But parents will be the biggest driver of holiday sales this year, planning to spend $1,711, up from $1,383 in 2015, a 24 percent increase from last year.
Millennials are also an online and mobile-savvy bunch, with 72 percent saying they planned to shop online, 58 percent saying they planned to shop on their mobile devices and 21 percent saying they plan to make at least one purchase on mobile. Twenty-eight percent of millennials responded that they didn’t plan to visit a brick-and-mortar retailer at all this holiday season and that they would do all of their shopping online and on mobile.
When it comes to online-only shoppers, 64 percent will be shopping for gift cards, 57 percent for apparel and accessories, 46 percent for toys and 37 percent for tech.
Apparel and accessories will be the focus of millennial spending this holiday season, at 74 percent, followed by video games (66 percent, or two out of every three millennials) and gift cards (65 percent); 60 percent of all millennials surveyed said they planned to buy some form of technology-related item this holiday shopping season.
Millennials also prefer Amazon at 67 percent to Walmart at 60 percent for their holiday shopping needs this year.
On average, men are also planning to spend more than women this holiday season, $1,360 compared to $1,028, with men planning to spend $388 on jewelry compared to women at $185.
And holiday shoppers are definitely not just thinking about others when they go shopping this year, as 43 percent of all shoppers said they planned to buy something for themselves this holiday season as well. Sixty-four percent of millennials said they planned to buy at least one gift for themselves this holiday season, and men said they planned to spend $407 on themselves compared to women who planned to spend $242 on themselves.
Millennials also plan to allocate the greatest amount of their holiday budget to “experiences” at $364, and 73 percent of millennials said they planned to spend on a “big-ticket item” this holiday season, such as a new TV, computer or home furniture. Ten percent of millennials said they would buy a video game console this holiday shopping season.
Rubicon polled 1,003 U.S. shoppers about their holiday shopping habits from Aug. 23 through Aug. 25.
“This year’s survey shows that consumers are shopping earlier than ever, taking control of when, where and how they plan to spend billions of dollars on holiday gifts,” according to Harry Patz, Rubicon Project's chief revenue officer, in a statement. “With Americans shopping earlier and spending considerably more this year than last, retailers have a unique opportunity to target shoppers across a variety of media and platforms. The research shows that parents and millennials in particular will be two key drivers behind this year’s increase in holiday spend.”