NPD Survey: Personalization and Timed Marketing Will Drive Holiday Business

While many retailers are focusing on winning over younger shoppers, a new study by the NPD Group shows that Generation Z is expected to spend the least amount of money this holiday season. The 2019 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey found that targeting any one demographic in isolation could be a risk, as each group has different shopping behaviors.

The study found that younger shoppers were more likely to take advantage of deals, with Gen Z consumers the most likely group to begin their shopping on Black Friday, followed by millennials. Millennials were also shown to be the most likely age group to shop at dollar stores (19%) and prioritize shopping for technology.

Gen X shoppers are expected to account for more sales than any other demographic, which is consistent with previous years. While 20% are likely to begin shopping on Black Friday, 57% will begin before Thanksgiving and are therefore the earliest demographic of shoppers. As a result, experts suggested that retailers might want to target early holiday messaging towards this group.

“No consumer can be left behind in today’s increasingly competitive retail environment where shoppers demand a more personalized approach than ever before,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor at the NPD Group. “In order to win the holiday retail battle, marketers need to address holiday shoppers across every generation, and also make them feel like they matter.”

Despite the association of younger shoppers and technology, Gen Z consumers are less likely to shop online than their older counterparts, according to NPD. This supports the current trend that Gen Z increasingly values experiential retail and brick-and-mortar over convenience.

At the other end of the age spectrum, half of the silent generation (people born between 1925 and 1945) are also expected to shop in-store and do so later in the season, providing last-minute sales for retailers. By staggering holiday messaging to each group in line with when they prefer to start shopping, the study suggests that retailers can improve the personalization and relevance of their marketing.

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