The Biggest Spenders This Holiday Season? Generation X

While Generation X may have small numbers compared to baby boomers or millennials, the former “latchkey kids” will likely be the biggest spenders this holiday, according to the 2019 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey from the NPD Group.

NPD found that Gen Xers, who it defined as between the ages of 39 and 54, plan to spend an average of $817 this season, more than any other generation. They are also the most likely generation to buy clothing and accessories; some 68% plan do so.

It also found that 51% of Gen Xers plan to shop mass merchants, and 77% will browse online retailers. Around one-fifth will start shopping on Black Friday.

Overall, U.S. consumers plan to spend an average of $740 on holiday shopping this year, said NPD.

Baby boomers (ages 55–73) are second to Gen Xers as far as intention to spend, planning to lay out an average $753, about even with last year. They are more likely than other generations to shop department stores (24%) and national chains (27%). They also plan to start holiday shopping earlier than other generations, before Thanksgiving.

Millennials, who the survey defines as between the ages of 23 and 38, are all about the “deals” and “dollars,” the survey found. They plan to spend an average of $724. The “vast majority” will do at least some shopping online, NPD found.

On the other end of the spectrum, members of the “silent generation,” age 74 and up, plan to spend $723 this holiday, about even with millennials. Only half will shop online, and they are more likely to start shopping late in the season (40%) than younger consumers.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the smallest spenders this holiday will be the youngest. Members of the oldest segment of Generation Z, ages 18–22, intend to shell out only $544 on holiday gifts.

More unexpectedly, while the post-millennials grew up with the internet, its members are less likely than millennials and Generation X to shop online and heavily favor clothing and accessories.

NPD also found that 13% of holiday shoppers said they plan to buy fashion jewelry as a holiday gift this year, and 10% plan to purchase fine jewelry as a holiday gift. Both numbers are even with last years’.

JCK covered tips on selling jewelry to Generation Xers in 2016.

(Photo: Getty Images)

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JCK News Director