What do the holidays look like for Gen Z this year? How do their perspectives and plans differ from the general population? Read on for key insights into Gen Z holiday shopping, travel and more.

Gen Z adults are more excited about the holidays this year.

A poll taken in November found that more than half of Gen Z adults are looking forward to the holidays more than usual this year. That’s twice the rate of the Gen Pop.

They are also more likely to say that holiday traditions have taken on greater importance to them since the start of the pandemic: 43% say they are more important now than prior to the pandemic (compared to just 26% of the Gen Pop). 

They plan to spend more this holiday season.

Gen Z shoppers are also nearly twice as likely as the general population to say they expect to spend more this year on the holidays compared to last year. Just 15% say they will spend less this year, compared to the U.S. average of 29%.

A greater percentage of that shopping and spending will be done in physical stores. Less than a third of Gen Z adults say they will do the majority of their holiday shopping online, suggesting nearly 70% will shop in stores. In comparison, 44% of the Gen Pop plans to do the majority of their shopping online.

Gen Z are well into their holiday shopping. 

Recent results show that 61% of U.S. adult holiday shoppers have started their shopping. Gen Z adults are ahead of the curve at 71%, a trend seen throughout the fall.

A few additional Gen Z holiday trends worth noting:

  • Although big-box stores such as Walmart and Target are the most popular holiday shopping destinations for Gen Z, they are less likely to shop there compared to the general population. Instead, they are more likely to shop at deep discount stores such as dollar stores and specialty or chain stores such as Gap or Best Buy.
  • For Gen Z, deals/promotions and free shipping top the list when deciding where to holiday shop this year. However, they are overall less concerned about deals than the Gen Pop, but more likely to look for fast shipping and curbside pickup options.
  • 40% of Gen Z adults say seeing friends and family is a top priority this holiday season, which is lower than the national average (51%). However, Gen Z adults are much more likely to travel – data for the week of Thanksgiving show that 48% are likely to travel for the holidays this year, compared to 29% of the general population (excluding those uncertain of their plans). 

Overall, the data suggest that Gen Z adults on average are feeling more enthusiastic about the holidays than older adults, and that’s underscored by greater participation in holiday shopping and travel.

What else are we seeing this holiday season? Navigate the holidays with the CivicScience Consumer Holiday Tracker. Learn more.