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Under 35s to drive festive spend, focus on tech and eco products

By Huw Hughes

28 Nov 2019


Under 35s are expected to drive spend this festive season, according to a new report, with the millennial-and-younger age group paying particular attention to new technologies, new delivery methods and environmentally-friendly products.

Shoppers in the 18-34 age group are willing to splash out more this holiday season - which kicks off with Black Friday on 29 November - with 40 percent saying they plan to up their spend from last year, compared to 28 percent of people across all age groups. That's according to an online survey by Capgemini of over 6,700 consumers across France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the US.

Capgemini said that retailers should focus on the shopping habits of under 35s if they are to make the most of the festive period, which counts some of the most important months in the shopping calendar. Key strategies to achieve this include “channel diversification across online, in-store and voice; investment in making products and packaging more environmentally friendly; and using technology to improve the shopping and delivery experience.”


Young shoppers are focusing on sustainability, the survey found, with 24 percent of 18-24-year-olds and 22 percent of 25-34-year-olds saying they would like retailers to make products and packaging more environmentally friendly, compared to 20 percent of over 35s.

When asked where shoppers would like to see retailers invest their money, maintaining or dropping current price points came out top (33 percent) but again sustainability was a key consideration, with 21 of all respondents saying they’d like retailers to offer environmentally-friendly products and packaging - this number increased to 24 percent among 18-24-year-olds.

Across all the countries surveyed, UK shoppers were the most interested in sustainable packaging (29 percent), followed by Germany (21 percent), France (19 percent), the US (14 percent) and Spain (14 percent).

But getting the basics right is still important for retailers. When choosing where to shop, variety and range of products offered was the most decisive factor for consumers (34 percent), while 33 percent said they expected delivery or collection from online shopping to be within three working days. When asked for what they’re looking for when buying gifts for others, the respondents’ top three answers were quality (54 percent), cost-saving (54 percent) and variety of products (50 percent).

Generational differences

The survey also found key differences in shopping habits between generations. The 18–34 age group, for example, is less likely to make purchases at brick-and-mortar stores, instead opting for online retailers who offer access to multiple brands. Of that group, 29 percent said they planned to spend the most money in-store while 37 percent said they’d spend most at a multi-brand retailer - that compares to 39 percent and 32 percent respectively for the all-age group average.

Those aged 18–34 are also more likely to use new technologies to enhance their shopping experience, showing a higher preference for technologies such as automated checkouts (23 percent vs 16 percent on average), mobile wallet payments (21 percent vs 12 percent on average), in-store technologies such as virtual reality mirrors (22 percent vs 15 percent on average), and new methods of delivery such as drones or in-car delivery (16 percent compared to 10 percent on average).

Kees Jacobs, vice president, global consumer products and retail sector at Capgemini, commented on the report: “Festive season shopping is critical to a retailer’s bottom line, and the spending plans of younger consumers will offer hope to retailers; however, retailers must adapt their strategy in order to win some much-needed wallet-share from this group.

“Technology can help deliver the quality, cost and range that all consumer groups want, but retailers must think carefully about how they balance new investments with meeting the expectations of a younger generation, while keeping low prices front of mind too.”

Photo credit: Bruce Mars, Pexels