Tips for Reaching Millennials during the Holiday Shopping Season

It seems like yesterday we had our toes in the sand, but with a flip of the calendar, the leaves are falling, mornings are cold and here we are, another holiday season charging full speed ahead like The Polar Express train heading to the North Pole. As a college graduate/young professional/millennial, taking a look at how others in my position approach the holiday shopping frenzy is very insightful and could provide tips for companies trying to build up their holiday shopping season success.

Millennials take the cake for the largest living (and spending) generation, therefore understanding millennial purchasing decisions can help businesses garner more sales and brand interaction from the generation with the most buying power. For the majority of millennials, many who are recent college graduates, personal finances and student loan debt are a major talking point.

Despite student debt looming over most of our heads, this doesn’t appear to effect holiday shopping as much as I predicted. Down the road though, future millennial holiday spending could be held back to address over $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loans, estimating the average graduate leaves college with roughly $29,000 in total debt with an average monthly payment of $322.[i]

In the meantime as we try to “forget” about student loans to enjoy our holiday season, Forbes highlights millennials as the most digitally enabled shoppers[ii], a big win for online retailers. With this fact in mind, let’s take a look at some keys to success to reach millennial shoppers.

1. Make it easy for millennials to connect with your product/services. Conversations and reviews from peers are valuable in the purchasing decision process.[iii]

2. Address the needs of budget-conscious millennials with special promotions, free/reduced shipping, etc. The majority of retailers started promotions as early as September and will extend sales into the New Year.

3. Showcase your company’s values and support of social issues and offer ways for millennial consumers to get involved with their purchases[iv] (Think Toms shoes and Love Your Melon hats).

4. Invest in the right social media channels to engage millennial shoppers. Entrepreneur explains millennials are always on our phones (we check them more than 49 times a day[v]). Reach us most effectively where we already are!

5. Be forward thinking: What do millennials need? What solutions can we offer this generation? Give the people what they want![vi]

As we fill our shopping carts (online and in stores) we can see the major impact millennials will have this holiday season. A better understanding of our shopping habits and preferences will benefit all stakeholders involved. Building a strong holiday presence offers brands and companies an opportunity to grow and gain more supporters to kick off the New Year and months ahead.


[i] http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/01/millennial-shoppers-say-theyre-ready-to-spend-this-holiday-but-skeptics-arent-so-sure.html
[ii] http://www.forbes.com/sites/mayakachroolevine/2016/09/28/heres-how-much-youre-going-to-spend-on-the-holidays-this-year/#427863461f29
[iii] https://www.affirm.com/content/how-millennial-shoppers-make-purchasing-decisions/
https://www.affirm.com/content/how-millennial-shoppers-make-purchasing-decisions/
[v] https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/234531
[vi] https://www.affirm.com/content/how-millennial-shoppers-make-purchasing-decisions/
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