Back in my day, we didn’t get cell phones until we were in high school. Today, kids get their first phone around age 10.

The ubiquity of mobile devices and high-speed connectivity are changing the game for how marketers reach audiences — and how consumers buy (case in point: mobile growth during the recent Cyber Week). Meanwhile, social channels like Instagram are bringing new trends, products, and influencers to consumers at hyperspeed.

Given this massively changed shopping landscape, how do various age groups browse and buy differently? And how are they similar?

New data from our Shopper-First Retailing report reveals the shopping preferences of three generational groups: Millennials and Gen Z (born 1981–1999), Gen X (born 1965 –1980), and Baby Boomers and Traditionalists (born before 1965). We examined a survey of 6,000 people worldwide to bring you this blueprint to retail and ecommerce success among every generation.

Check out the infographic below, and take a look at a few of our top findings:

  • Every generation is more likely to prefer a physical retail store for making a purchase. The phone is the least popular purchase-making destination among every generation, although it’s predictably more popular with younger shoppers than older shoppers (27% of Millennials and Gen Z prefer to buy on phones vs. 18% of Gen X and just 5% of Boomers and Traditionalists).

  • When it comes to customer service, Boomers and Traditionalists most heavily rely on brick-and-mortar stores: 57% prefer to visit a store to resolve a service issue, while Millennials are more evenly split between computers, phones, and stores (35%, 33%, and 32%, respectively). The takeaway: cross-channel service options are a mandate.

  • Millennials and Gen Z are the most likely to gravitate toward companies that lead with values: 55% are more likely to buy when a charitable donation is offered with purchase, compared to 42% of Gen X and 31% of Boomers and Traditionalists.


Click to enlarge


For more insights on winning shopper loyalty in 2019 and beyond, download the Shopper-First Retailing report.