Three Generations of Shopping Habits: Explore the Trends 

Each generation’s expectations and shopping habits have been shaped and changed by technology. Smartphones, Amazon, and a changing retail industry have drastically influenced how people view the in-store experience.

Also changed is the importance they place on services, sales staff, products, price sensitivity, and much more. As the industry continuously evolves, this has become a broader topic with much to discuss. Here is a quick rundown of the trends we see, what to expect, and ideas to keep in mind as we plan for changes in retail.

Gen Z

  • These tech savvy whippersnappers are now entering the workforce and ready to spend more than before. A recent study by Ernst & Young shows that Gen Z DOES shop online, more than Gen Y. 58% of respondents said they still visit stores to see the product. Therefore, an in-store experience is still essential. Give them excellent service and expanded options.
  • They also like add-ons such as free shipping. As they get more economically independent, this may change. 
  • They’re smart and driven. They are ready to be entrepreneurs and aren’t afraid to start or fail. They know what they want, and will not hesitate to change the status quo or be attracted to brands that do.

Gen Y (My clan) 

  • Only 21% of Millennials polled felt online products are easier to find versus going into a store. 
  • We are price sensitive, but through quality and ads, we can be convinced.
  • We love to give back. If your brand or organization does something to help charity, nature, community, etc. we are more likely to buy from you. Might be a little pretentious, but I’m not sorry for caring.
  • We like to chat with sales associates; we need affirmation and understanding of our needs. Only half of Gen Z shoppers polled agreed. We Y’ers like to KNOW what we are getting is the right fit… Or at least tell us it is the right choice.

There are some similarities of course. Both Gen Z and Gen Y are into EXPERIENCES – remember that before ditching your in-store experience or cutting the budget for technology that makes shopping unique. Experiences tying in with a brand are important to young people, just look at the success of a faux commercial made by a student for Adidas. It was ignored’ by Adidas and became a hit because it resonated with young people, and the need to associate a product with an experience and feeling rather than its status or logo.

Gen X

  • Gen X also searches for goods and services on their smartphone. Don’t assume they are not tech savvy. A study states 35-54 year olds in the U.S. spend 63% of their time on mobile smartphones or tablets. They will see those online ads, so don’t forget about them!
  • They still love email. I tend to believe this because of my parents’ favorite form of contacting me was email; only recently have they become more adept to smartphones and global messaging apps. But for store information and brands, email remains high in popularity with these folks.
  • They shop online and are getting better at it. A total of 52% surveyed have already taken the plunge, and more are getting on board. Gen X requires information and will be sure to carefully research quality before committing.

It’s always important to cater to your target market but keep in mind there are a varying degrees of shoppers out there with different habits, needs, and changing expectations. Keep your store up to date with inventory, technology, and well-trained sales teams. Be ready for the whole family, because the reality is technology, service, and in-store experiences are still important to all of them.

To keep up with changing shopper preferences, and a growing number of channels, retailers must constantly pivot their approach. Download Personalizing Every Customer’s Path To Purchase and learn how to adjust to consumer preferences in real time, and deliver 1:1 experiences that will delight every shopper during every shopping journey.