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As we recover from tryptophan comas and Black Friday shopping hangovers, many of us begin to gear up for the upcoming slew of holidays. We spend more time with loved ones, decorate our homes and wear our ugliest of sweaters…all in the name of holiday cheer!
Or so we thought…
Our recent Holiday Shopping TBH survey exposed the truth: the holiday season might not actually be so merry and bright for all, especially younger guys. In fact, 18-34-year-olds feel an increasing amount of loneliness and depression between Thanksgiving and New Years.
According to our survey, 46% of males 18-34 have a negative sentiment around the holidays, compared to 38% of their female counterparts. Males expressed feelings of stress, loneliness, and dread during this “most wonderful time of the year.” If we narrow the age range to males 18-24, the rate of these negative feelings increases as almost 25% of them feel stressed.
To understand the drivers of holiday pessimism we analyzed three aspects of the holiday season.
Too many gifts, too little time.
It’s no wonder this segment feels anxious — our research shows that young males are last-minute shoppers. They are also 2X more likely than females to say they don’t have time to shop at all.
While they drag their feet when starting their shopping, surprisingly, they still devote multiple hours to the process. In fact, millennial males spend almost 5 hours more in total holiday prep than millennial females.
Is it just as nice to give as to receive?
Gifts are a tough subject for these guys. In addition to being negative about buying gifts, we also learned that young males feel similarly about receiving gifts. In fact, males are 5X more likely than females to say, “I’m always disappointed with the gifts I receive.”
Maybe that’s because millennial males are much more practical gift givers and receivers. Cash or gift cards top their wishlists, ahead of electronics, clothing/apparel/accessories and food/beverage. This percentage increases to over two-thirds when we look at men 18-24 as this school-age demo is likely the most in need of some extra dough.
Cash gifts are a hit with millennial males because they are most excited when they are able to buy what they want. Do not bother investing time and thought into the perfect gift because they are 1.5x less likely than millennial females to enjoy it. Males feel that these types of gifts (aka – your latest craft fair project) often miss the mark and never reflect their taste.
But it’s not all “bah humbug.”
In order for millennial males to combat the holiday blues, they make it a priority to find some alone time. In fact, they are just as likely to look forward to relaxing as they are to spending time with family. Their female counterparts, on the other hand, prioritize quality time with family (their #1 answer) above all else.
Despite dreading shopping, millennial males still feel the giving spirit during the holiday season. 70% of this cohort plan to donate to charity this holiday season and 65% plan to purchase from a brand that gives back to causes they care about. This philanthropy is even more apparent when we look at the younger 18-24 segment as males are 22% more likely than females to donate items or money to charities.
We should note that these guys have money to spend on family and friends. With a holiday budget of $700, 40% of this group plans to spend more than they did last year. In 2018, they have the additional gift-giving funds because they are either earning more money or have been saving up to indulge during the holidays. In fact, half of males feel that they actually spent too little last year and want to make up for it.
It is important for males to have a deep holiday budget as they are much more likely than females to use their funds as a sign of affection. Millennial males correlate their care with cash and want to make sure the price tag will show their love.
Act Now While Supplies Last!
For brands to reach these stressed-out shoppers, it’s important to make the path-to-purchase as easy and efficient as possible — this includes pre-bundled presents taking the guessing out of giving, easy access to gift cards or clearly showcasing product features. When gift giving is made simple, millennial males can make their list, check it twice and start decompressing with much needed R&R. And when in doubt, free shipping always helps for these eleventh-hour elves.