The NPD Group Profiles the 2019 U.S. Holiday Shopper by Generation

Many Gen Z and Millennial consumers are planning to start their shopping on Black Friday, and Gen X and Baby Boomers are planning on spending the most of all generations on holiday shopping. Each generation’s holiday shopping plan looks different, according to insights from the 2019 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey from The NPD Group. Understanding the similarities and differences in when, where, how much, and what each consumer group plans to spend on will be critical for marketers navigating 2019 holiday season.

“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, 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.”

Gen Z, is just getting on the holiday shopping bandwagon, but they will be heading straight for Black Friday deals.

The older segment of this young generation of consumers, age 18 to 22, plans to spend the least of all generations, but one-third plan to spend more this year than in 2018. About one-third will start shopping on Black Friday, the highest of all generations. Gen Z-ers are less likely than Millennials and Gen X to shop online, but they are likely to buy clothing, accessories, and electronics.

Millennials are all about the deals, dollars, and technology this holiday.

Consumers in this generation plan to spend less than their older counterparts (Gen X and Boomers) but one-third plan to spend more than they did in 2018. More than 20% of Millennials will start shopping on Black Friday, second only to Gen Z.

The vast majority will shop online, but they are also more likely than all other generations to buy electronics (46%) and shop Dollar Stores (19%).

Gen X plans have them as the big holiday spenders.

Gen X shoppers plan to spend more than all other generations. They are the most likely generation to buy clothing/accessories (68%) and entertainment items (44%), and most likely to shop mass merchants (51%) and online pure-plays (77%). About one-fifth will start shopping on Black Friday.

Boomers will be early out of the gate with a steady pace.

Fifty-seven percent of Boomers plan to start shopping early (before Thanksgiving), making them more likely than all other generations to do so. They plan to spend the 2nd highest amount of all generations (behind Gen X), and overall spending will stay the same as last year. They are more likely than all other generations to shop department stores (24%) and national chains (27%), but they are also most likely to purchase liquor or wine as holiday gifts (26%).

Silent Generation shoppers will be important at stores and the last minute.

Four out of ten of these older consumers plan to start shopping late, making them the most likely generation to do so, and only half will shop online. They plan to spend about the same amount as Millennials, keeping their spending in line with last year.


The Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey is designed to understand consumers’ shopping and spending intentions for the upcoming holiday season. An online survey was fielded to members of The NPD Group’s online consumer panel in September 2019. The survey was fielded to a U.S. representative sample. The results of 3,485 completed surveys are presented in this report.