According to a current eMarketer report, US Millennials at Key Life Stages, Digital shopping is standard procedure across the millennial age bracket. But there are some differences in how the younger and older consumers go about things, online and offline.
US Digital Buyer Penetration (% of Population in each group)
Source: eMarketer, February/August 2016
The eMarketer study sees scant difference in the proportion of younger vs. older millennials who are digital buyers. As of 2015, 73.2% of the 18-to-24 cohort and 71.6% of those 25 to 34 were estimated to have made at least one purchase by digital means during the calendar year.
Other studies also show younger and older millennials with a similar propensity to be digital shoppers, says the report. In October 2015 polling by the National Retail Federation (NRF) showed that 54.8% of respondents ages 18 to 24 planned to include online purchases in their holiday shopping, as did 56.7% of those 25 to 34..
Older millennial shoppers spend more, though, says the report. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data covering 2014, households headed by 25- to 34-year-olds spent an average of $49,547, while those households headed by someone under 25 averaged $32,179, and total households averaged $53,495. The younger consumers spent less than the older ones in categories such as furniture ($304 vs. $426), healthcare ($1,103 vs. $2,659), pets ($158 vs. $441) and entertainment ($1,319 vs. $2,418).
Tight finances hold millennials back from spending freely, concludes the report. In the Ipsos and Navient polls, 51% said they worry about paying all their monthly bills. Many also carry debt; college loans, but other debt, too. They are alert to tradeoffs between buying what they want and being overextended, says the report.
Value, though, for millennials is not confined to dollars and cents, says the report. In a 2015 poll by to Cone Communications, 92% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 91% of those 25 to 34 said they are likely to switch to a brand associated with a good cause.
Raphael Bemporad, founding partner and chief strategy officer at branding agency BBMG, observes that “… this reflects a belief… that people can solve things in working with brands and not against them… “
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