More reaching for their phones to shop on Black Friday

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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UD student explains why he shops online.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Millennials, who hold a major buying power this holiday season, are opting to reach for their phones rather than wait in line for Black Friday deals this year.

The vastly different consumer habits of the younger generation are changing the way retailers hire workers, advertise products and deals, and prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping season.

Holiday sales are expected to reach more than $655 billion, and a study from Adobe showed online sales could hit about $92 billion.

“I spend the majority of my money online,” said Darian Washington, a 20-year-old student at the University of Dayton. “It’s convenient, quick and easy. You don’t have to stand in line.”

RELATED: View our DDN Black Friday Guide

Online shopping has become increasingly popular, especially for Millennials, according to the National Retail Federation. In 2015, young adults shopped in masses both online and in stores during the Black Friday weekend. According to a survey, 62 percent of 25 to 34 year olds said they shopped in stores, while 58 percent shopped online.

“It is clear that the age-old holiday tradition of heading out to stores with family and friends is now equally matched in the new tradition of looking online for holiday savings opportunities,” said Matthew Shay of the National Retail Federation.

Holiday sales are expected to top previous records this year, due in part to the rapid increase of online shopping sales. There is an estimated 10 percent increase in non-store sales this year, and local experts say this will impact the types of area jobs seasonal workers will secure.

RELATED: Consumers rank best retailers for Black Friday deals

The main reason? Millennials want their purchases now, and they want it fast. According to a study from the Rubicon Project, Millennials are now entering a stage of financial independence, and their spending habits are maturing.

Millennial holiday shoppers plan to spend an average of $1,427 this year, up 33 percent from $1,072 in 2015. According to the report, 54 percent of the generation plan on spending more this year than they did last year.

Jason Dorsey, a Millennials and Generation Z researcher for The Center for Generational Kinetics, told the Dayton Daily News that Millennials hold a significant amount of buying power due to the group’s sheer size. They are now the largest generation in the workforce — giving them more money to spend.

RELATED: Shipping companies expect package volume to skyrocket

The group will buy a lot this year — and their parents and others will also buy gifts for them. As the generation gets older, they’re finally marrying and having children. As priorities change, consumer habits change too. According to the Rubicon Project, parents will spend an average of $495 per child — up 25 percent from 2015.

“We anticipate Millennials will buy online and mobile more than they have in previous years,” he said.

The center also found the group will go online first before they head out to retailers, and they almost always look to buy “big-ticket” items online. Most of all, they expect their purchases to be delivered to them.

RELATED: Online sales driving increases in holiday shopping

Delivery services anticipate shipping more than a billion gifts this holiday season. The United Parcel Service (UPS) alone estimates it will deliver more than 700 million packages.

If they do make it to a brick-and-mortar store, Millennials want it to be an entertaining experience. They opt for outdoor malls and obscure boutiques, rather than a traditional mall. Retailers are attempting to make their stores a "one-stop experience," with coffee bars and a destination feel.

Stores might offer festival events outside or ramp up contests and social media. Even more important, Millennials are influencing older generations. Now, Baby Boomers and Gen X are leaning toward online shopping, and they too want an engaging in-store experience.

“Retailers have to give people a reason to physically drive there,” Dorsey said.

Visit the Dayton Daily News Black Friday Guide for in-depth coverage of the holiday season. 

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