Millennials Stress Holiday Shopping Savvy

Five hundred billion dollars: That’s about how much industry analysts say the nearly 80 million U.S. millennials spend in a year.

And during the biggest shopping season of the year, millennials aren’t looking to spend those dollars blindly.As heard on the radio

“What’s so interesting about millennials is that they’re incredibly savvy,” says Andrea Hershatter, senior associate dean at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

“They browse online more than they buy online, but while they’re doing it, they make wish lists, so when a moment like Black Friday comes along, if in fact they’re watching something and are aware of a discounted price, they’re extremely likely to buy in that moment,” she said.

Millennials, those in their late teens to early 30s, are the largest generation in history, outpacing Baby Boomers. With their size, they wield a good amount of spending power around the holiday season.

Hershatter says for millennials, in-store and online shopping are seamlessly connected, especially during the holidays when sales abound.

Simon Property Group, which owns a few malls in the metro area, including Phipps Plaza, estimates around 9 in 10 millennials will head to the mall at least once during the holidays.

Phipps General Manger Dewayne Herbert says stores are still working to blend in-store and online.

“Our brands are more and more integrating what you see online so your able to basically get the same shopping experience and make sure you have the opportunity to look and feel and touch,” he said.

Herbert says the experience of holiday shopping – cozy drinks and food and decorations – is what brings millennials in, but the Simon study didn’t look into how shoppers plan to divide all of their holiday shopping between online and in-store

Emory’s Herschatter says most consumer experts put millennials doing about a third of their shopping online.  She says when it comes to millennials and how they decide to fork over their cash, it just depends.

“They’ll buy it how and when it’s convenient, which could be sitting in their living room or it might be by engaging in a fun experience shopping at a mall.”

But whether online or in-store, retailers can rest assured millennials will be shopping.