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4 Generations Compared: What Are Their Online Shopping Habits?

Shopping online is a way of life for many people. These days you can even buy your groceries online and pick them up curbside. You can go days, months even, without physically stepping inside a brick-and-mortar retail establishment.

One main attraction to online shopping is the ease of the transaction. Payment gateway make sending or receiving money instantaneous and hassle-free.

However, not everyone is a fan of shopping on the internet. Statistics show that each of the primary four generational demographics have widely varying online shopping habits. Generational demographics are typically broken up into Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (Millennials) and Generation Z.

What do we know about the habits of each individual generation?

Baby Boomers (1946-1964)

Generally speaking, Baby Boomers are less inclined of the four to shop online. Rather, they prefer personal interaction. Part of the personal interaction includes customer service and staffed check-out lines instead of self check-outs.

Studies find that Baby Boomers are loyal to trusted brands and often choose word-of-mouth recommendations over online reviews or recommendations.

That’s not to say that Baby Boomers don’t shop online. They do, but with decidedly less frequency and comfort than other generations.

Generation X (1965-1980)

Generation X is often the forgotten generation when it comes to marketing. For that reason, there is less statistical consumer data available for the so-called “middle child” generation, stuck between Baby Boomers and Millennials.

The meager information available about Generation X points to a reluctant shopper who does their due diligence before making any purchases - online or in stores. One reason why Generation X isn’t marketed toward is their ability to see through flashy marketing pitches.

However, given their use of search engines and social media to research products, Generation X is an untapped marketing treasure trove for online retailers.

Millennials (1981-1997)

Ah, the generation no one can agree on their age range. Millennials get a bad rap for ruining just about everything. However, the generation born during the internet boom is more attuned to using mobile technology in every aspect of their lives.

Forbes reports that what matters most to Millennials when shopping online isn’t free shipping or low prices. Rather, getting their purchases as soon as possible, with same-day delivery, is most important to their generation.

Generation Z (1998-2010)

While Millennials were around when the internet became a household name, Generation Z has never lived in a world without the internet. As a result, they are the most internet-savvy of the four generations. Not surprisingly, they are the most adept at researching and comparing items before purchasing.

Generation Z is also one of the most vocal on social media sites about consumer goods and services. They frequently interact with brands and like-minded consumers. Instant gratification is an expectation for Generation Z, which often leads them to shop in-stores rather than online.

Purchasing online and picking up in the store the same day is gaining traction with today’s teens.

Age IS Something More Than a Number

Everyone with the internet likely shops online at some point. Younger generations seem more comfortable with online shopping than the other generations, as expected. Each generation has its own distinguishing factors that retailers must consider when it comes to marketing.