Millennials and Holiday Shopping Go Together Like Avocado and Toast

What social media tells us about millennials’ holiday shopping habits

Millennials, a generation blamed for everything from declining homeownership to the death of the diamond industry, have unique holiday shopping habits. But they also have an enormous buying power, estimated at $200 million in 2017 leaves brands scrambling to appease them. From wacky campaigns like Skittles’ Bleachers to MailChimp’s JailBlimp, brands want the millennial stamp of approval.
Holiday season is especially crucial, as it is one of the biggest spending periods of the year. So, of course, brands around the globe are asking themselves the same question: What can we do to better market our holiday products to millennials?
In this post, we’ll analyze the social media conversation among millennials to better understand their preferences for holiday shopping.
To identify millennials on social media, we used curated “author interests.” These interests included college and high school, in addition to pop culture topics. By looking at the conversation on social media, we are able to learn about how millennials shop during the holidays.

What Millennials are saying about holiday shopping

Since 2014, millennials have been discussing holiday shopping more year after year. The biggest rise in conversation occurred from 2016 to 2017, with post volume increasing by 1.2m posts.

Main topics in the Millennial holiday shopping conversation

Millennials have particular shopping habits: they shop online, shop for themselves, research products before making a purchasing decision (oftentimes in store on a mobile device), look out for environmentally friendly and ethical products, and buy secondhand. Researching products and socially conscious shopping saw the biggest increase in share of voice in the past two years.

When it comes to the types of products millennials buy, there are two major categories of brands: technology and apparel. The top technology brands are Amazon, Apple, Samsung, Sony, and Microsoft. Amazon is by far the most discussed brand; many millennials complete their holiday shopping online.

For apparel, the top brands are: Nike, Victoria’s Secret, H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Zara.


Social media reveals a lot about millennials’ deepest materialistic holiday desires. Brands can use this information to better understand their shopping habits and create campaigns to best capture their attention.
For more on consumer insights on holiday shopping, download our free guide Is This The End of Black Friday?

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