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Christmas Shopping Trends in The U.S.


It’s that time of year again; the Santa lists are being written and the family reunions are drawing closer. It’s Christmas time and the gifts aren’t going to buy or wrap themselves. Each year you make that list of who you need to buy for, where your budget stands and when you are going to find the time to get it all done.

Once the roster is made and you have carefully thought out each and every person’s perfect Christmas gift, then the real fun starts. Shopping. And that’s when things get complicated. Because when the United States is broken up into subcategories (such as income and age) the infamous aspects of the “how” and “where” people do their Christmas gift buying get interesting.

Online vs. Department Stores

Research shows that every year more and more people are doing their Christmas shopping online. One can only assume this is due to convenience and the fact that the generation who grew up with the Internet is now old enough for its members to be the ones buying, instead of the ones being bought for. This is evident in that research, which shows younger consumers are more likely to shop online this holiday season. However, that’s not the only interesting news to come out of Gallup’s recently published statistics. Department stores, while declining, are still heavily favorable for a large group of Americans. The research puts Americans as 72% likely to shop at department stores compared to 62% likely to shop online this Christmas season!

“Hybrid Generation”

This hybrid group of both in-person and online shoppers could be said to come from the Internet’s hybrid generation. While millennials — generally defined as those in the 22 to 35 age bracket — will forever be the age group that took the Internet by the horns, they also are the last age group to remember a time without the Internet at all. An age group who watched their parents shop at stores and nothing else, because there was nothing else and making up many companies’ main consumer audience. As generations get older and older and the younger ones make up more of the consumer base, the trend is moving more towards online shopping over department stores.

It’s a Tie

Online shopping and department stores are neck and neck in preference among holiday shoppers. Going back to the hybrid generation theory, it is extraordinary how close the two get as the age groups surveyed get younger. With e-commerce just winning out among 18-29-year-olds, of whom 76% say they’ll do their Christmas shopping online compared to 75% in store. When online shopping was first added to the Gallup poll in 2008 only 10 percent among adults said they used it for their Christmas shopping. That’s an explosive growth in just nine years. And as time goes by that trend is set to continue.


For more information on the Gallup research and a more in depth look of the results visit: