Black Friday vs. Cyber Monday: Gen X and Y vs. the Baby Boomers

by: Marketing Charts

Cyber Monday seems to be gaining steam as a favorite holiday shopping day, with 26% of respondents intending to shop on the Monday after Thanksgiving, up from 20% saying so in 2007, according to a Maritz Poll, Retailer Daily reports.

However, 41% of respondents say they will still shop on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, This is slightly more than the 37% who said so in 2007, Maritz found.

Gen Y* (53%) and Gen X (46%) are more likely to shop Black Friday sales compared with Boomers (36%) or the silent Generation (18%); only 10% of the Silent Generation will shop on Cyber Monday, significantly lower than any other generational group, according to the holiday poll.

“It’s good news for retailers that Gen Y hasn’t lost its penchant for Black Friday,” said Tom Krause, director of strategic consulting for Maritz Research Retail Group. “This generation is known for their impulse spending and taste for fashion, so they are a great target for retailers this holiday season.

“Plus, according to the survey, they are the only generation saying they will spend the same as last year ($550), rather than cutting back, which could be attributed to the fact that this particular generation has never really experienced a recession.”

Below, additional findings from Maritz.

Capturing Spend by Generation

Among a list of more than 15 stores to choose from, the consumer research study revealed the top choices among the generations:

click to enlarge

“Gen Y isn’t cutting back this holiday season and Gen X shoppers still plan on spending the most this year - an average of $607 - despite the generation’s spending decline from previous years. Retailers should keep an eye toward catering to those generations,” said Krause.

“A notable exception is Sears, which still has not cracked the code with the younger generations.”

Sears’s shopper profile skews older, which makes the retailer more vulnerable to the forecast drop in spending among Boomers and Silents, Krause said.

Shoppers stay jolly with creative ways to offset holiday spending

While budgets are tight this year, consumers still want the holidays to be filled with lots of presents and good cheer. The poll explored the top ways that consumers are adjusting to the declining economy this holiday season:

  • Gen Y shoppers will apply for seasonal retail jobs to take advantage of discounts more than any other generation.
  • 81% of women will do pre-shopping research (compared with 67% of men).
  • 69% of women will focus on giving practical gifts rather than non-essential gifts (compared with 54% of men).
  • Women will also focus more on homemade and sentimental gifts (42%) compared with their male counterparts (28%).

‘Tis the season for a better holiday shopping experience

Asked about the single most important improvement retailers could make to create a better holiday shopping experience, respondents indicated that additional check-out and return lines, and friendlier and well-informed employees, would improve the overall shopping climate:

“Retailers should focus on the small details to make a big difference - train employees to maintain a friendly attitude, reconfigure the store to create an easy flow around the check-out counters and customer service desks, and keep information on merchandise at other stores readily available to combat issues created by low inventory. Those small changes will go a long way,” Krause said.

*For this poll, Gen Y (1978 to 1989) comprises ages 18-29; Gen X (1965 to 1977) comprises ages 30-42; Boomers (1946 to 1964) comprises ages 43-61; and the Silent Generation (1900 to 1945) comprises ages 62 and over.

About the study: This online Maritz Poll, which was conducted Oct. 14–24, 2008, featured responses from 1,525 randomly selected adults from an internet panel survey on topics related to holiday shopping, buying behaviors, and gift-giving trends. Respondents were split evenly between males and females, and results were weighted to match census demographics (on age, income, race, education and children in household).

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