Have a merry millennial Christmas

          Laura Heller

To say that millennials are changing retail is an understatement. This generation is impacting not only how consumers seek out product information and how products are bought, but are redefining the holiday shopping experience, as well—most recently by sounding off in the controversy over retailers opening on Thanksgiving Day.

Consider this: Half of all consumers between 18 and 34 think all-day shopping on Thanksgiving is a great idea, according to a new survey by LoyaltyOne. It's a sentiment that seems to fly in the face of public opinion.

Each year retailers announce Black Friday store hours with more chains opening on Thanksgiving Day. Those planning to open then become the target of some very angry consumers who believe that day is sacrosanct—intended as a day of rest for all Americans. If this survey is correct, it's easy to draw the conclusion that this is a sentiment shared largely by older shoppers. But there are few objectives of greater importance to retailers than attracting the millennial shopper.

Now, combine the LoyaltyOne survey with this recent study by Simon Malls that shows millennials are more likely to shop at the mall this holiday season. That's right, the digital generation actually values the physical and social experience of shopping brick-and-mortar.

Now those Thanksgiving Day openings make even more sense, from a retailer's perspective.

Thanksgiving Day openings may appear unpopular but they are here, if not to stay, at least for the foreseeable future, thanks to the millennial generation.

This group was raised in a world accessible 24/7. Holiday shopping won't be any different. -Laura