Does Black Friday Shopping Behavior Change When Millennials Become Parents?


Just when you think you’ve figured out Millennials, they start having children. Now what? Do we have to go back to the drawing board? How do marketers figure out what makes this multitasking, mobile device-juggling, work-life balancing, world-changing generation tick?

Let’s take a deep breath and start the analysis by taking a look at how Millennials shopped brick-and- mortar stores on Black Friday 2016. On a high level, Millennial shoppers were slightly less likely to make a Black Friday purchase (29.2% of households) than the average of all shoppers (32.1%).

Things change in just about every aspect of life when children are factored into the equation, and shopping behavior on Black Friday was no exception. Millennials with kids were more likely to shop in-store on Black Friday (30.0% of households) than Millennials without kids (28.7%).

Among those Millennials who did shop in brick-and- mortar stores on Black Friday, shoppers with kids in tow were bigger spenders. Millennials with kids spent $68.48, compared to $59.17 for those without kids. That’s a kid-friendly boost in spend of about 16%.

So far, it seems surprising that Millennials with kids are more likely to participate in Black Friday compared to Millennials without kids. We looked at the kinds of products being purchased on Black Friday to explain why this might be the case. Below are a list of categories, as well as the relative likelihood of each category being purchased by Millennials with kids compared to childless Millennials.


As Millennials get older and start having children, gone are the days of using Black Friday to find good deals on that killer 60-inch TV you’ve always wanted. Now, Black Friday is all about the kids – buying toys for holiday gifts and stocking up on parenting necessities.

Having kids also influenced which retailers were visited by Millennials on Black Friday. For example:

  • Walmart was a much bigger Black Friday hit for Millennials with kids (55%) than Millennials without kids (41%). Walmart’s wide assortment across categories probably give it an advantage for families who want that new stereo as well as new clothes for their toddler.
  • Millennials without kids visited drug stores more often than Millennials with kids – 13% without vs. 9% with for CVS, and 11% without vs. 8% with for Walgreens. Seemingly, Millennials without kids are opting for those low-profile Black Friday trips where they can quietly avoid long lines (and perhaps the shrieking cries of newborns).
  • Target, however, did well on all Millennial fronts. Millennial Black Friday shoppers with kids (40%) and without kids (41%) visited Target at a higher rate than all Black Friday shoppers (31%). This makes sense, considering Target’s sales track record for being a Millennial haven.

What does this all mean? Historically, Black Friday represents a unique 24-hour period in American culture when shoppers of all ages seek out bargains on exciting new products like TV sets, stereos, and video game systems. But as some shoppers move on to the next stage of their adult lives, Black Friday becomes more than just a vehicle for self-indulgence; it’s a day to stock up on everyday necessities at heavily discounted prices. So marketers, take note: on a sales day as important as Black Friday, it’s not enough just to know who your shoppers are. Knowing who else is in the household could be enough to move from the red to the black.

About the Data

Using InfoScout’s proprietary mobile apps, we captured purchase data from the receipt images of more than 3,000 Millennials who shopped at brick-and-mortar stores on Black Friday, and more than 77,000 Millennials who shopped at brick-and-mortar stores during the prior 52-week period. Millennial shoppers were also broken down into two groups – those with kids and without kids. Data is based on non-grocery purchases.

Throughout the 2016 holiday shopping season, InfoScout’s team of researchers will be analyzing real-time data from millions of omnichannel shopping trips. This data is mapped to shopper profile data, instantly triggered surveys and more to provide the richest set of shopper insights available.

For more information, please contact


How Politics Can Shape Our Grocery Shopping Behavior



Although they wave the same American flag, Democrats and Republicans often hold clashing opinions on a seemingly infinite number of issues, such as immigration, health care reform, and global warming. Knowing someone’s political identity makes it easy to predict which side they’ll adopt in these debates. But can this information also be used to predict which products shoppers will buy at the grocery store?


To explore this idea, InfoScout identified over 3,000 panelists who agreed to share their data on the celebrities and public figures they follow on Facebook. Panelists who follow liberal pages like Hillary Clinton were coded as Democrats; Trump followers were coded Republican. Afterwards, we compared the purchase behavior of the Democrats and Republicans using our Household Affinity report. This tool helps us determine which brands and categories most strongly differentiate the two shopper groups.


Below, we summarized our findings according to which brands/categories are disproportionately bought by either Democrat and Republican households, as well as the magnitude of this effect (i.e. higher numbers represent greater political skew). Percentages were determined by calculating the relative ratios of Liberal and Conservative households purchasing a particular brand or category. Specifically, we divided the % of Liberals buying and the % of Conservatives buying, with the higher percentage in the numerator. The values can be interpreted as, “Liberals are 37% more likely to have purchased a Kashi product in the past year compared to Conservatives.”


The data suggest that progressive and traditional values extend not only to our political beliefs, but to our grocery baskets as well. Republican households tended to buy family-oriented brands (such as Malt-o-Meal and Capri Sun) as well as traditional American foods (like white bread and sugar cookies). By contrast, Democrats tended to over-index on products that are positioned as more healthful and organic, such as Kashi and kale. Democrats also skewed towards products that are more culturally diverse, like flatbread, jalapeños, and mangos.


Finally, we also found that the Altoid mints brand was among the top “bipartisan products”. In other words, Altoids are purchased at nearly identical rates between Democrats and Republicans. Perhaps the greatest lesson learned from this exercise is that true political cooperation may finally be achieved by focusing on what makes us similar rather than different from each other. This summer, consider reaching across the aisle and offering your fellow American a cool, refreshing mint.

Spring Cleaning: Scrubbing Deeper with Household Products Purchase Data

Spring Cleaning is a time when consumers use their daily household cleaning products to scrub deeper than just the surface. This holds true for panel data as well; sometimes the most impactful insights are hidden from plain view, waiting to be discovered with a little extra elbow grease. For example, take a look at some top-line metrics for common products in the household category.


This view gives us a quick bird’s-eye view of how each subcategory is performing. For example, bath tissue has a relatively high basket size of about $95, suggesting that it’s purchased on large stock-up grocery trips. Bath tissue also has the highest purchase frequency, meaning that the category is purchased (by each household) an average of 7 times per 52 week period.
Interestingly, dish detergent and fabric softener have almost identical purchase frequencies of 4.0 and 4.1 (respectively). However, these numbers are just averages. They don’t tell us anything about the underlying distribution. Datasets with similar means but different distributions can be problematic; imagine if we treated {0, 5, 10} the same as {4, 5, 6}. An insights professional looking to understand these categories more thoroughly will want to scrub a little deeper past the surface.

A shopper histogram is the perfect complement to shopper metrics because it takes the averaged metrics and shows you the full distribution of the data. The graph above paints a bigger picture than the averages alone for these two categories. Here, we see the underlying distribution for each category’s purchase frequency. Fabric softener is a divisive category; shoppers either buy it all the time (8+ times per year), or very rarely (just once per year). By contrast, dish detergent has a steadier distribution; more shoppers fall near the mean (buying 4 times per year).


Why is this important? As a marketing manager, it’s easy to make assumptions based on data averages. Shopper metrics alone would lead you to believe that two disparate categories have identical purchase cycles. In reality, fabric softener has two shopper segments of ‘extremists,’whereas dish detergent has fewer ‘extremists’ and a greater number of average, once-per-quarter shoppers. It’s easy to miss these crucial segments by glancing at a bird’s-eye view of the data.
Want to ‘scrub’ even deeper? Are you curious about which brands in the household category are favored by your shoppers? Get in touch with us at and we’ll be happy to help you out!.

PlayStation wins Black Friday among Millenials; Nintendo slides further among GenXers


It is now well-known that video games are no longer purchased and played exclusively by young people. In fact, recent analyses show that the average video gamer is 31 years old, and about 40% of gamers are over the age of 36. Game developers are acutely aware of these facts. Otherwise, we would not be blessed with perpetual installments of Super Mario, Final Fantasy, Halo, and so on.


By contrast, Millennials are widely regarded as picky consumers who place comparatively less emphasis on brand loyalty. They live in the moment and their shopping consideration sets are comparatively more flexible.


When presented with a sales promotion, are Millennials more likely to shift their video game buying habits compared to older gamers? Between Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation, and Nintendo’s Wii, who “won” Black Friday by enticing gamers to their brands?


To answer this question, InfoScout established a baseline group of 2,364 people who purchased video game products in October 2015.   We then contrasted their purchases to those of 1,020 Americans who purchased a video game, console or accessory during the 2015 Black Friday promotion period (starting at 6PM on Thanksgiving, and running until the end of day Friday). Gamers in the baseline group of October buyers versus Black Friday buyers were segmented into Millennial (ages 18 – 35) and Middle Age (ages 36 – 55), to compare their dollar spend on Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo products.


BlackFriday2015_ShareGamingConsoles@2x (1)


Based on the evidence above, Sony PlayStation clearly “won” Black Friday 2015 among Millennials, stealing 7 percentage points of market share directly from the Microsoft Xbox.  Millennials are notoriously fickle, and Sony clearly took advantage at Microsoft’s expense.  By contrast, Middle Aged video game buyers’ preferences only changed slightly (away from Nintendo) during the Black Friday shopping spree, with Xbox capturing a slightly higher share of those gamers’ wallets than PlayStation.


About the Data

More than 300,000 Americans snap pictures of their everyday shopping receipts via InfoScout’s mobile apps: Shoparoo, Receipt Hog and Receipt Lottery. The first 250,000 receipts reported from shopping trips on Thanksgiving night and Black Friday were analyzed to support the real-time insights above. For further information, please contact