Millennials to Lead Holiday Spending

Over a third of millennials plan to spend more money this holiday season compared to last year, and they will likely outspend other generations this gift-giving season, according to Discover’s annual Holiday Shopping Survey.

Millennials say higher income and more people on their shopping list are two reasons for their boost in spending. And they also will overwhelmingly use their mobile devices to shop.

Results from the survey, which polled Generation Z, millennials, Generation X and baby boomers on their previous holiday shopping habits and upcoming plans to purchase, also show:

  • 35 percent of millennials said they would spend more this holiday season than last. Following them are 26 percent of Gen Z, 23 percent of Gen X and 16 percent of baby boomers.
  • 39 percent of millennials plan to spend $750 or more on gifts, followed by 35 percent of baby boomers, 33 percent of Gen X and 11 percent of Gen Z who said they will spend the same amount.
  • 45 percent of millennials said they expected increased income to boost their holiday spending compared to 28 percent of Gen X, 26 percent of baby boomers and 20 percent of Gen Z; meanwhile, 49 percent of millennials reported they have more people to shop for, followed by 43 percent of Gen Z, 37 percent of Gen X and 36 percent of baby boomers.
  • A majority of millennials, 73 percent, will use a mobile device to shop for gifts while 58 percent of Gen X, 48 percent of Gen Z, and 32 percent of baby boomers plan to do the same.

Credit Cards Lead the Way as the Favored Payment Type; Consumers Say Earning Rewards is a Top Consideration When Choosing Card to Use

Credit cards continued to be the favored payment type for the holiday season, a trend that has increased since 2017. In 2019, 42 percent of respondents said they expect to use credit cards for most of their holiday gift purchases, compared to 38 percent in 2018 and 32 percent in 2017.

Of those who plan to use credit cards for the majority of their holiday shopping, 55 percent of respondents said they mostly use credit cards to earn points and rewards.

“Consumers want to get the most for their money when they make purchases, especially as they buy gifts on a holiday budget,” said Shannon Kors, vice president of card rewards and benefits at Discover. “Discover cards are designed to help cardmembers get the most value when they shop this holiday season and throughout the year by earning cash back on every purchase they make.”

Majority of Consumers are Concerned about Identity Theft/Fraud though Gen Z is Significantly Less Concerned

Identity theft and fraud continue to be on shoppers’ minds, as 83 percent of all respondents reported some level of concern about it.

How concerned are you about identity theft/fraud this holiday season?
2019Gen ZMillennialsGen XBoomers
Very concerned21%11%24%25%17%
Moderately concerned33%22%33%31%36%
Slightly concerned29%25%26%28%33%
Not at all concerned17%42%17%16%14%

To help protect themselves against fraud, 50 percent of baby boomers, 43 percent of millennials and 39 percent of Gen X use credit cards with built-in security features. However, 32 percent of Gen Z said they do not take any actions to protect themselves from identity theft/fraud, compared to just 11 percent of millennials, 10 percent of Gen X and 8 percent of baby boomers.

For more a full list of Discover cards’ security benefits, go to