Published Dec 6, 2023

Holiday shopping: how retailers can win over baby boomer, Gen X, millennial, and Gen Z shoppers



3 key takeaways

  • Over 50% of consumers avoid online retailers that provide slow delivery.
  • Less than 14% of consumers leave holiday shopping until the last minute.
  • Over 50% of Gen X and millenials start holiday shopping as early as August.

The holiday shopping landscape has experienced a huge transformation over time, with folks of all ages appreciating the simplicity and convenience of shopping online. Each generation has their own unique shopping styles and hurdles, but convenience is still king for everyone during the festive season.

We at Celigo surveyed over 1,000 holiday shoppers across the U.S., analyzing the shifts in holiday shopping expectations. Key findings include:

Review the full 2023 Holiday Shopper Survey here.

In this article, we take a closer look at how retailers can use these insights to make holiday shopping a breeze for every customer across generations.

Convenience is key for everyone

When it comes to holiday shopping, convenience wins the day, beating out other factors like cost and product availability. Baby boomers really value this, with a whopping 78% saying it’s why they’re planning to shop more online. This change in preference is shaking up retail, pushing businesses to create easy-to-use interfaces, quick checkouts, and speedy customer service.

Boomers and Gen X are switching things up

Black Friday and Cyber Monday used to be the big shopping events everyone looked forward to, but not so much for Baby Boomers and Generation X these days. They’re focusing more on personalized experiences that cater to their unique tastes throughout the holiday season, even though convenience is still key.

Delivery delays frustrate Gen Z and Millennials

Gen Z and millennial shoppers have a different set of challenges. Late delivery is their number one issue, as these digital natives are used to free next-day shipping and quick delivery. Retailers can streamline those supply chain and shipping processes to keep up with these tech-savvy shoppers.

Early birds on the hunt for deals

Many Gen X and millennial shoppers are starting their holiday shopping early to grab better deals and sidestep potential supply chain problems. Over half of Gen X and 50% of millennials start hunting for holiday deals as early as August, September, and October. Extended holiday marketing campaigns can draw in early-bird shoppers with irresistible promotions.

Last-minute shopping declines

Remember when a good chunk of holiday shoppers were last-minute types? Not anymore. After past supply chain issues, less than 14% of shoppers across all demographics are leaving it to the last minute. This shift in behavior is a chance for retailers to fine-tune inventory management and shipping processes, ensuring products are ready and available throughout the holiday season.

The year-round holiday shoppers

While most people prefer to do their holiday shopping during the traditional festive period, 11% of shoppers across all generations are keeping the holiday spirit alive all year round. Retailers can tap into this group by offering exclusive deals and incentives that keep them engaged throughout the year.

Holiday shopping trends across generations

Understanding the shifting preferences and challenges of holiday shoppers across different generations is key for retailers who want to stay ahead of the game. Making convenience a priority, optimizing supply chains, and offering early deals are essential strategies to create a smooth shopping experience and build lasting customer loyalty. By adapting to these evolving trends, retailers can make the holiday season a joyous and stress-free time for shoppers of all ages.

Stay updated with the latest holiday shopping trends.

–> Get the full 2023 Holiday Shopper Survey here.