The holiday season has come and gone, but besides using it as a chance to exchange gifts with family and friends, the holidays have come to be a prime time to “treat yo’self.” This treat yo’self mentality is a trend that Millennials are catching onto, and it’s beginning to change the way young people view gifts during the holiday season.

More than ever before, young people are purchasing gifts for themselves, rather than expecting gifts from the loved ones in their lives. In fact, this “treat yo’self” movement has resulted in Millennials’ gifting items to themselves at a 13% higher rate than 2017, reaching a new record high at 31% of all consumers and 44% of 18-24 year olds specifically. In another recent poll, 38% of young consumers aged 18-36 years old reported that they had planned to purchase gifts for themselves during the 2018 holiday season.

Not coincidentally, retailers adapted to this trend and set sale prices to make the most of young consumers’ self-gifting. Over Black Friday, when many shoppers purchase the gifts they’ll exchange over the holidays, retailers reduced their prices an impressive 47.9% this year, a noticeable increase from 2017’s 45.2%. This was a successful strategy for retailers, taking advantage of Millennials’ tendency to plan their holiday purchases ahead of time, rather than succumb to impulse buys. Young consumers also reported that they planned to spend just as much on themselves as they would spend on gifts for others in their lives. Let’s explore exactly what they planned to buy for themselves during the 2018 holiday season.

Topping this year’s list of items that young consumers aged 18-36 years old planned to buy for themselves was clothing and accessories. This new trend has emerged in recent years, as clothing and other fashion items crowded out “cash” for the number one spot on this list. Interestingly, clothing and personal fashion also claimed the top position on the list of gifts that Millennials were hoping to receive from others.

Coming in second was an item related to the first, and that was shoes and/or boots. Shoes combined with clothing reflect the increasing importance which young consumers place on and invest in their personal fashion and their clothing choices. The number two item that young consumers reported hoping to receive from others was cash, which studies show they were likely to spend on fashion and clothing items.

Looking further down the list, we saw a number of technological items show up, ranging from the broad response of “electronics” at number 3, smartphones at number 4, video games at number 7, gaming consoles at number 14, headphones at number 15, and laptops or computers at number 16 at the very bottom of the list. Men, more than women, were likely to list technology and electronic devices as both what they planned to purchase for themselves and what they were hoping to receive as gifts from others. Female respondents, on the other hand, were more likely to answer beauty items, holiday decorations, or home décor (most specifically, candles).

As retailers and other brands strategize about how to reach out to consumers during holiday seasons, these responses from Millennials sharing what they planned to purchase for themselves in 2018 can help them understand how to best connect with young audiences.

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Varsity Spirit works alongside our corporate partners to help them be useful, relevant and entertaining to teenage consumers.  These young consumers could very well become lifelong customers.  Contact us today, and let’s start the conversation about how we can get your brand in front of millions of the nation’s most spirited and influential teen leaders.