Holiday 2020 will be a retail season like no other given the uncertainty around the pandemic and the economy, but there are a few things we know for sure. The rapid shift to ecommerce will continue at an even faster pace as shoppers embrace the ease and safety of researching products and making purchases from their homes. According to a July eMarketer survey, over 60% of US consumers plan to do more than half of their holiday shopping digitally1.

Audiences Have Normalized

At Quantcast, we looked into both what we learned about key audiences in holiday 2019 and what we are seeing in the age of Covid-19. Overall, the surge in online shopping over the past few months has somewhat flattened the demographics of online buyers. They are less affluent — and look more like pretty much everyone in the US. It’s only when you look more closely at specific product categories that you see interesting patterns emerge.

A Younger Outlook for Beauty and Fashion Ecommece 

Younger females with no kids are typically big in-store shoppers for fashion, beauty and jewelry. With concerns about safety, along with the technology to enable virtual fittings this group has made the leap to online purchasing. Additionally, during the pandemic, Gen Z became  23% more likely to buy in the beauty and fashion category than before Covid-19. Currently, 13% of the total number of online shoppers in the category are Gen Z, while 40% are Millennials, and 59% of those who have been purchasing in the category make less than $50,000 a year. This makes holiday 2020 an excellent time to push discounting and affordable products to this large cohort of potential buyers.

Toys For All!

Toys have become a very hot item throughout the past six months, defying their usual seasonality. It’s possible that harried parents have turned to toys to both keep the peace, and get their own work done. And while we often think of parents as the primary purchasers, data from holiday 2019 shows that 47% of those who purchased toys do NOT have children in the home. Go grandma and auntie! Yes, women are more likely than men to buy toys (it’s a 64/36 female/male skew). But, It’s also wise to think about those among Gen Z and Millennials who buy toys for themselves or younger relatives. Last holiday season, Quantcast observed 9% of toy purchases were made by Gen Z consumers, with an additional 38% of toy sales going to Millennials, meaning 47% of all toy sales were to consumers under age 40. Through the past nine months of 2020, consumers under 40 have made up 50% of observed toy sales, showing a clear growth pattern that may well continue into holiday 2020. Marvel Comics Superheroes, limited edition Barbies and Funko Pop figures are among the toys flying off the shelves to collectors.

Consumer Electronics Under Every Tree

Consumer electronics (CE) are another hot-ticket item during the holidays and 2020 will be no different, especially with 4K TVs becoming more affordable and two next-gen gaming consoles launching in November. We used to think of your basic CE purchaser as being a Millennial or Gen X male, but women are in on the action too: 46% of those who purchased CE last holiday season were female.With electronics — now that those hi-def TVs have become so affordable — the holiday audience for CE purchases is younger than you might imagine: 74% of those who bought in the category during holiday 2019 were either members of Gen Z or Millennials.

Foodies Want Gifts Too

Who will be buying food online this holiday season?  The traditional profile of an online grocery shopper has typically been time-pressed, more affluent Millennial and Gen X Parents. Covid-19 brought in-store shortages of a variety of items, along with making baking and sourdough a national obsession, so we can expect lots of interest in cooking gadgetry this holiday season. Quantcast data shows that online food shoppers are skewing younger, with 10% of online grocery shoppers in 2020 being Gen Z aged, up from last Holiday season when only 8% of that shopping cohort belonged to Gen Z.

Want More?

For a complete look at what we learned in Holiday 2019 and our projections on how online audiences have changed and will impact this season, download our 2020 US Holiday Insights.

For more information on how Quantcast can help your brand understand online consumer behavior in real-time, get in touch here.