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Gen Z and millennials turn to social media to holiday shop

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Savannah Baron keeps an exhaustive spreadsheet of perfect gifts: a camping chair love seat for the couple who enjoys the outdoors; a refillable candle for your eco-conscious cousin; a cocktail infusion kit for the friend who’s into mixology.

It’s not for her. It’s for her 189,000 TikTok followers.

Baron, 27, derives a certain satisfaction in “finding those little things and little brands” that could easily be overlooked. But her TikTok videos of curated gift ideas tap into a crucial and increasingly younger audience: People who do their holiday shopping — from inspiration to purchase — on social media.

Research shows 60 percent of Gen Z (born from 1997 to 2012) and 56 percent of millennials (1981 to 1996) will do at least some holiday shopping on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and similar apps, according to the consulting firm Deloitte. That’s a significant leap from the 49 and 46 percent, respectively, recorded in 2021. Even Gen X and boomers have warmed up to the trend, the study found.

What’s more, social media is a key starting point: 6 in 10 shoppers say they get “inspiration and ideas” from the sites, according to a global survey by the IBM Institute for Business Value, in association with the National Retail Federation.

“Social media provides exposure to so many more products that we would never have access to,” said Logan Stenseng, 24, of Iola, Kan., a small town about 100 miles southwest of Kansas City. He uses Pinterest for gift ideas but also hunts for bargains on Facebook Marketplace. “You also see what’s trendy in other places, and things that are very useful or practical that are helping other people that you can’t find in stores here.”

The platforms allow for a seamless browse-to-buy shopping experience, said Bobby Stephens, a partner at Deloitte…


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