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Holiday Survey Finds 70% of Consumers Optimistic About the Economy

More millennials than other demographics believe the U.S. economy will be doing even better by next year, and consumers overall expect to boost their holiday spending by 5 percent over the year-end frame.

Those were among the key highlights from an OpenX survey conducted in conjunction with global market research firm The Harris Poll on consumer sentiment around the upcoming holiday shopping season.

More than three quarters (77 percent) of millennials expressed confidence that 2020 will bring a stronger economy, more than the 71 percent of the total 2,000-strong polling sample, according to the 2019 Consumer Holiday Shopping Report. And consumers of all ages are expected to spend an average of $862 on gifts and this holiday, up 5 percent from $819 in 2018.

In recent years, holiday shopping has shifted from bricks to clicks and that trend only is expected to accelerate this season, according to the report, which found that “most” shopping will happen online this year and mobile devices are set to capture $1 in every $5 spent, based on consumer expectations.

Millennials are driving much of the change on this front. Not only are 70 percent planning to shop Cyber Monday deals online but 60 percent expect to shop for holiday gifts on their smartphones. And while high earners in the $100,000-and-higher income bracket are mostly like to forego a gift-shopping trip to the store, 27 percent (and 37 percent of millennials) plan to purchase at least one gift from a direct-to-consumer company, the report found.

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In line with their upbeat attitudes about the economic outlook, millennials expressed plans to spend 15 percent more this season versus the average consumer, which translates to an average spend of $990. The report says that compared to the average consumer, millennials are 50 percent more likely to purchase a subscription, 68 percent more likely to buy a DTC product and 40 percent more likely to splash out on a big-ticket item.

“The 2019 report has a number of firsts, including it being the first year consumers expect to conduct the majority of their shopping online and via mobile devices, eschewing in-store experiences for the convenience of digital,” Dallas Lawrence, chief brand officer at OpenX, said.

“This is also the year of the millennial shopper. Millennials are more optimistic about their economic future than any other age group and this optimism will lead them to spend more this year than any group tested,” Lawrence added. “All indications are that the holiday season will be a healthy one for those retailers willing to embrace the important shifts we are seeing in when, where and how consumers are shopping.

“With the right people-based marketing strategy, that reaches the right shopper with the right campaign at the right time, the opportunity is greater than ever to find the right outcome whether it be in-store or online,” Lawrence concluded.