How Politics Could Affect 2018 Holiday Shopping


While massive sales aim to entice consumers during year-end shopping trips, it is a brand's political views that may determine whether or not a purchase is made during the 2018 holiday season. 

A holiday shopping survey* conducted by The NPD Group in September 2018, found that more consumers than last year will be affected by a company's position on current social, environmental and political issues. NPD found that Generation Z consumers were particularly sensitive to a company’s stance on social and environmental issues
Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor, The NPD Group, said, "In this mid-term election year, political polarization and activism is on the rise in this country, and it’s bleeding into the upcoming holiday season, especially among younger consumers. While many might disregard the social and environmental views of younger consumers, they do so at their peril. After all, the oldest Gen Z consumers are just now entering the workforce—and the purchasing power of this generation will increase significantly in the years ahead."

Social and Environmental Issues 

  • 52% of respondents—three percentage points higher than 2017—said that a manufacturer's or a retailer's position on social or environmental issues would impact their holiday buying decisions.
  • That number rose to 65% among Gen Z consumers and 55% among millennials. 

According to Cohen, "Younger generations want—and will pay a premium for—brands that stand for something and those that have corporate social programs that are aligned with their values."

Political Leanings

  • 47% of U.S. consumers—three points higher than 2017—indicated that political issues would play a role in their purchase decision. 
  • 49% of baby boomers said these issues would affect their purchases, followed by 48% of Gen Z consumers and 47% of millennials. 

Heading into the holiday season and beyond, brands should be aware of these partisan shoppers and how a relentless internet connection—as well as a heated political climate—is placing company values at the forefront of consumers' purchasing decisions across all generations. 

* The data was collected from 3,605 completed surveys.

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