Millennials Poised to Lead Travel and Spending During Holiday Season Impacted by Coronavirus Pandemic

Latest COVID-19 study reveals Millennials are 73% more likely to spend more, 39% more likely to travel this holiday season

NEW YORK, November 10, 2020 -- MRI-Simmons, the essential consumer truth set, today announced the release of its latest COVID-19 Consumer Study, providing in-depth analysis of consumer behaviors and attitudes resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Among its many findings, the ongoing study showed Millennials are 73% more likely than the average adult to spend more this holiday season, and 39% more likely to travel. The study also revealed this inclination to spend more and to travel is even more pronounced among working Millennials who have children.

Planned Spending

Nineteen percent of Millennials say they’ll spend more this holiday season than last year, compared to just 11% of total adults. Millennials who are working parents are nearly two times as likely as the average adult to spend more.

Thinking about the holidays overall, please tell us if you are planning to spend more, the same, or less this year versus last year.
Vertical %, (Index to Adults 18+)

Source: MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Consumer Study, Oct 2020

Adults 18+

Millennials

Working Millennials
w/ kids

Spend more this holiday season

11%

19% (173)

22% (197)

Spend the same this holiday season

51%

45% (88)

44% (85)

Spend less this holiday season

37%

36% (95)

34% (92)

Perhaps the main driver of Millennials’ willingness to spend more this holiday season resides in their financial optimism. 35% of Millennials feel their household will be better off a year from now (Index 130), and 18% feel they’re better off today than a year ago (Index 129). These sentiments are even more pronounced among working Millennials with kids.

Thinking about the next 12 months, do you think that the economy and business conditions in this country as a whole will be better or worse one year from now?
Vertical % (Index to Adults 18+)

Source: MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Consumer Study, Oct 2020

Adults 18+

Millennials

Working Millennials
w/ kids

Household will be financially better one year from now

27%

35% (130)

35% (132)

Household financially better now than one year ago

14%

18% (129)

20% (143)

Purchase Intent

Millennials are more likely to make purchases across a wide variety of categories, and working Millennial parents index even higher across these categories.

COVID-19 Holiday Season Purchase Plans Top-10 Indexing Categories
Vertical % (Index to Adults 18+)

Source: MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Consumer Study, Oct 2020

Adults 18+

Millennials

Working Millennials
w/ kids

Gaming devices (e.g., PlayStation, Sony, Xbox, Nintendo)

37%

59% (162)

61% (166)

Sports / fitness equipment (e.g., weights, bike, treadmill, golf clubs etc.)

32%

50% (154)

52% (162)

Luxury goods (e.g., watches, jewelry, etc.)

32%

49% (155)

51% (161)

Major household appliances (e.g., refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine, etc.)

33%

47% (143)

50% (153)

Furniture

36%

52% (143)

55% (151)

Automobile or other vehicle (e.g., car, truck, motorcycle)

29%

42% (147)

43% (150)

Toys & games

56%

76% (137)

79% (143)

Mobile phone/ smartphone

42%

57% (137)

59% (142)

Accessories (e.g., costume jewelry, sunglasses, etc.)

48%

63% (131)

65% (136)

Consumer electronic products (e.g., TV, tablet, electronic readers, headphones, etc.)

52%

68% (131)

69% (133)

This holiday season is unlike any in our memory,” said Karen Ramspacher, SVP Innovation and Insights at MRI-Simmons. “In this COVID-19 holiday season, understanding the mindset and media habits of the Millennial consumers will be critical for travel and retail brands looking to drive revenue and capture mind share. 

Planned Travel

Like the average adult, Millennials are planning to participate in traditional holiday activities like home decoration, watching holiday content, and having smaller, more intimate gatherings. Perhaps more interestingly, nearly one in every five Millennials will travel this holiday season, which is 39% more likely than the average adult. Working Millennials with kids are 44% more likely to travel for the holidays compared to the average adult.

Please tell us if you are planning to do any of the following for the holidays this year.
Vertical % (Index to Adults 18+)

Source: MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Consumer Study, Oct 2020

Adults 18+

Millennials

Working Millennials
w/ kids

Decorate my home

48%

50% (104)

52% (108)

Watch holiday content

43%

47% (108)

45% (104)

Have smaller more intimate gatherings in person

33%

35% (104)

35% (104)

Bake/cook more as gifts

26%

29% (114)

30% (115)

Zoom/video instead of instead of in person gathering

22%

29% (128)

29% (132)

Donate money/goods to charity

26%

24% (94)

26% (99)

Listen to holiday related podcasts

12%

19% (160)

20% (167)

Travel for the holidays

14%

19% (139)

20% (144)

Cancel traditional large meal

20%

18% (93)

19% (99)

Read/listen to holiday specific books

13%

18% (141)

19% (145)

Read holiday specific magazines

10%

13% (131)

16% (159)

Donate time to charity

12%

13% (111)

15% (127)

Large gathering/event

9%

12% (136)

13% (157)

Of Millennials planning to travel, the majority (71%) will head to a nearby US destination, but working Millennial parents are nearly twice as likely to be planning a trip abroad (28%, Index 183) or even a cruise (18%, 187).

What kind of destination are you planning? (for holiday travel)
Vertical % (Index to Adults 18+)

Source: MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Consumer Study, Oct 2020

Adults 18+

Millennials

Working Millennials
w/ kids

A nearby U.S. destination

66%

71% (107)

72% (110)

A distant U.S. destination

38%

37% (95)

41% (107)

A foreign country that is allowing U.S. visitors

15%

22% (145)

28% (183)

Taking a cruise

10%

15% (156)

18% (187)

Other

2%

3% (129)

2% (101)

Travel Motivations

It’s no surprise that people travel over the holidays to see friends and family – and 79% of Millennials say that’s what they’re up to. Among those who plan to travel, working Millennial parents are 56% more likely to say they’re traveling to “get away” or for “vacation.”

You mentioned you are planning to travel for the holidays this year. What is your reason for travel this holiday season?
Vertical % (Index to Adults 18+)

Source: MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Consumer Study, Oct 2020

Adults 18+

Millennials

Working Millennials
w/ kids

Visit relatives/friends

81%

79% (97)

76% (94)

Vacation/get away

41%

52% (127)

64% (156)

Other

3%

4% (143)

4% (144)

To learn more, register for MRI-Simmons’ complimentary COVID-19 webinar on November 12, 2020. Click here to register. 



About the COVID-19 Consumer Study

The MRI-Simmons COVID-19 Consumer Study explores attitudes and behaviors related to the pandemic, including the impact COVID-19 has had on product purchases and intent, delayed, postponed and cancelled activities, media usage and preferences by category and platform, and much more. The October COVID-19 Study was an online study fielded September 15th to September 29th 2020 across a nationally representative sample of 4,854 adults in the US. Final data was weighted and projected to the US population for tabulation and fused to MRI-Simmons national datasets for deeper profiling.

About MRI-Simmons

MRI-Simmons is the leading provider of insights on the American consumer. With thousands of attitudinal and behavioral data points, gathered through ongoing surveys and passive measurement, MRI-Simmons empowers advertisers, agencies and media companies with deeper insights into the “why” behind consumer behavior.

MRI-Simmons combines best-practice survey methodologies with an innovative technology platform and advanced data visualizations. MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer® is the industry standard for magazine audience ratings. In parallel, the company has been at the forefront of innovation, significantly accelerating the time to insights for brand builders, strategists, planners and sales regardless of their data acumen.

Launched as a joint venture in 2019, MRI-Simmons is co-owned by GfK and SymphonyAI Group, with GfK as the majority partner. To learn more, visit mrisimmons.com, or follow @MRISimmons on Twitter.


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press.ms@mrisimmons.com