It’s starting earlier than ever – thanks to more money. So we'll spend more on our kids, and ourselves

Yesterday’s big headline that middle-class incomes had their fastest growth on record last year is followed up today by news that much of that extra money will be spent on a record-setting holiday shopping season.

One-third of consumers — including half of parents — have already started holiday shopping, according to a poll from advertising firm Rubicon Project. In fact, with all that extra cash we’re making, Americans started shopping before Labor Day, and are expected to spend 12 percent more than last year.

Parental spending is high

On average, Americans are going to spend nearly $1,200 this season, according to Rubicon. Tech will get almost one-third of our spending, while experiences like shows and travel will get around $440 this year. But it looks like the biggest spending will be on children. Rubicon says parents spend more than others, and it’s especially true this year. They’ll average more than $1,700, up nearly $300 from last year, and roughly $500 per kid.

But each parent spends differently. Dads will spend more per child ($568 over $429 for moms) and are more likely to head into a store than shop online. But both admit they’d prefer buying many small gifts over one big gift.

But so is millennial money

While parents are likely to spend more than any other group of Americans, millennials are not far behind. Spending among young people will rise 33 percent over last year, averaging more than $1,400 this year.

Almost 40 percent of millennials have started holiday shopping before summer is even over. Among the top categories of spending: apparel/accessories (74 percent), video games(66 percent) and gift cards (65 percent).

One for you, one for me

Income is up, spending is up, and so is self-gift-giving. Among all groups, millennials are the most likely to gift themselves something — 64 percent of them plan on it. Fifty-five percent of parents are also self-gifting. And whatever it is, it’s going to be nice: we’ll be spending $322 just on ourselves this year.

Parents will spend the most on themselves ($431 vs. non-parents at $238) and men will nearly double women —$407 to $242.

Mobile shopping keeps climbing

Black Friday may get its Thanksgiving creep on earlier and earlier, but for a lot of shoppers, heading to the mall matters less than ever. The Rubicon poll showed that 73 percent of us are shopping online this year and one-third are doing it on mobile. Twenty-two percent of shoppers (and 28 percent of millennials) don’t even think they’ll make it to a physical store at all this year.

Cyber Monday is also catching up fast to Black Friday: Almost half of respondents plan to shop on Cyber Monday, but among parents and millennials, that number climbs even more, to 74 percent of both groups. More than 1-in-5 Americans started looking for Cyber Monday deals as early as August, double from this time last year.

Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Budgeting & Saving, Family

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, holidays, save money, shop online, winter holidays

Related Posts

Article last modified on March 7, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Holiday Shopping Breaks All Speed Records - AMP.