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Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: Survey Reveals Surprising Shopping Similarities Between Two Age Groups

Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: Survey Reveals Surprising Shopping Similarities Between Two Age Groups

Radius Global Market Research recently conducted a study on Millennial and Boomer purchasing trends, which revealed that Millennials (18-32 year olds) and Boomers (49-67 year olds) are not as different as Conventional Wisdom may suggest. Well, at least when it comes to shopping, they’re not – while some differences were certainly found, the study also discovered significant similarities between the two groups.

The use of technology, the hunt for the best bang for their buck, and shopping habits were among the top similarities. Turns out that new media and technology are not just for the youth, as 86% of Boomers routinely research products online, and female Boomers use Facebook at a nearly identical rate (90%) to Millennials. As for making purchases, Millennials and Boomers tend to have similar concerns, with both groups disclosing that they focus primarily on quality or price/value, while taking the category into account. As for where they shop, Millennials and Boomers have the same habits, with retail being the most prominent channel for buying everyday goods, apparel, and electronics, but with online being the preferable destination for travel-related purchases.

As for differences, Millennial consumers tend to be more optimistic, with a more favorable outlook on the economy (71%), and different buying priorities. Travel and apparel seem to be most important to Millennials, while “necessities” such as packaged foods and insurance are of greater interest for Boomers. The two groups also access product information differently, with 60% of Millennials frequently using their smartphone versus 14% of Boomers doing the same. At 38%, Boomers are twice as likely as Millennials to research in newspapers or magazines. When it comes to making decisions, word-of-mouth sways Millennials, while 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

 By Cassie Steele

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