Ages Apart, But Similar Shoppers

A new study of Millennial and Boomer purchasing trends, conducted by Radius Global Market Research suggests that conventional wisdom says that Millennials (18-32 year olds) and Boomers (49-67 year olds) are more different than alike. But when it comes to shopping, the study found that while there are certainly differences, there are also some significant similarities between the two groups.

Top Similarities: Millennials vs. Boomers

  • New media and technology are not just for the young. An overwhelming number of both Millennials (90%) and Boomers (86%) routinely research products online. Boomers and Millennials are both engaging via social media at healthy rates. Female Boomers and Millennials use Facebook at a nearly identical rate (90%). And streaming movies and television programming is a reality for both Millennials (77%) and Boomers (40%)
  • Millennials and Boomers have similar concerns when making purchases. Both tend to focus primarily on quality or price/value, depending on the category. Both groups bought more technology products last year, and both will increase spending in travel and apparel in 2014
  • Millennials and Boomers have the same habits when it comes to where they shop. Retail is by-and-large the prominent channel for buying most everyday packaged goods, apparel, and electronics. When it comes to travel, both groups prefer to buy online

Top Differences: Millennials vs. Boomers

  • Millennial consumers are more optimistic. They have a more favorable outlook on the economy (71%) and were more apt to maintain/increase spending during the recession (55%)
  • Millennials and Boomers have different buying priorities. Millennials place travel and apparel as their top two priorities for increased spending in 2014. Boomers are more focused on “necessities,” ranking packaged foods and insurance products higher
  • Boomers and Millennials tend to access product information differently. While product research via PC is high with both groups, 60% of Millennials research via smart phone (vs. only 14% of Boomers). Boomers are twice as likely (at 38%) to research in newspapers or magazines
  • Word-of-mouth sways Millennials. The younger consumers rank word-of-mouth most influential as they make purchase decisions across all categories. Boomers tend to rely on advertising and advice from sales reps

Top (3) Purchase Influencers by Category and Generation (Extremely/Slightly Influential)

Category

Millennials

Baby Boomers

   Apparel

Word of mouth

Online shopping sites

 

Online shopping sites

Advertising

 

Search engine

Recommendation from sales rep

 

   Packaged goods

Word of mouth

Advertising

 

Advertising

Recommendation from sales rep

 

Search engine

Word of mouth

 

   Financial products

Word of mouth

Word of mouth

 

Company website

Advertising

 

Search engine

Company website

 

   Big-ticket purchases

Word of mouth

Word of mouth

 

Search engine

Company website

 

Advertising

Advertising

Source:  Radius Global, January 2014

Radius GMR senior vice president, Lesley Brooks, concludes that “…while it is beneficial to understand the similarities and differences… it is also important… to look beyond these over-arching categories… Nuances such as gender require at least as much attention… engaging both Boomers and Millennials…”

The firm’s proprietary Internet Panel represents over 3.4 million households, with over 6 million consumers in the U.S. and over 1.5 million consumers in Canada, the U.K. and Europe, Australia and Scandinavia.

For additional information from Radius-Global, please visit here.

 

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