Doing their parts this year, Generations X and Y -- consumers age 18-44 -- assisted in the economic recovery of the nation by continuing to splurge on certain types of purchases, according to new data from Publicis Groupe's search engine marketing services provider Performics.
Indeed, Generations X and Y splurged more than any other age group in 2009, despite one of the worst economic years in decades, according to the study conducted by ROI Research.
While three out of four -- 76% -- of consumers said they still splurged in 2009, consumers between the ages of 18 and 44 splurged more than those ages 45 and up across 11 separate categories.
Categories that topped the list of splurges for the younger generation were apparel, travel/vacation, shoes and movies at the theatre.
Across all age groups, the Web continued to distinguish itself as a key commerce engine, according to Michael Kahn, SVP of marketing at Performics.
"Regardless of who spent money offline or online, consumers were emphatic about the Web's role in helping them make smarter purchase decisions in 2009," said Kahn. "Consumers have long turned to the Internet to check prices and identify the best products to buy and merchants to patronize, but this year's economic situation pushed this practice front and center."
In particular, online price checking can reduce the likelihood of buyer's remorse for a consumer either by confirming a good deal or identifying a better one.
When it came to finding the best deals, nearly half of consumers found the best deals online. In fact, 45% of respondents said they found the best deals online in the past month, compared to only 34% of respondents who said they found the best deals in-store.
Also true for all age groups, consumers identified select elements of a Web site that positively affect their willingness to purchase online.
In particular, a full 85% said they were most likely to purchase from a Web site offering free shipping, 75% said they were most likely to purchase from a site offering free return shipping.
Meanwhile, 66% of respondents said home page discounts increased the odds of them making a purchase, while 53% said consumer-generated reviews make a purchase more likely.
Looking ahead to 2010, Generations X and Y show greater signs of increased spending. According to Performics, 18% of those ages 18-44 expect to spend more overall in the next 60 days than in the same period last year, compared to just 13% of those ages 45 and up.
Meanwhile, 24% of those ages 18-44 expect to spend more online in the next 60 days than in the same period last year, compared to just 10% of those ages 45 and up.