Conventional wisdom says that Millennials (18-32 year olds) and Boomers (49-67 year olds) are more different than alike. But when it comes to shopping, exactly how wide is the generation gap? A new study of Millennial and Boomer purchasing trends conducted by Radius Global Market Research (Radius GMR) shows that while there are certainly differences, there are also some significant similarities between the two groups.
Top Similarities: Millennials vs. Boomers
New media and technology are not just for the young. An overwhelming number of both Millennials (90%) and Boomers (86%) routinely research products online. Boomers and Millennials are both engaging via social media at healthy rates. For example, female Boomers and Millennials use Facebook at a nearly identical rate (90%). And streaming movies and television programming is a reality for both Millennials (77%) and Boomers (40%).
Millennials and Boomers have similar concerns when making purchases. Both tend to focus primarily on quality or price/value, depending on the category. Both groups bought more technology products last year, and both will increase spending in travel and apparel in 2014.
Millennials and Boomers have the same habits when it comes to where they shop.Retail is by-and-large the prominent channel for buying most everyday packaged goods, apparel, and electronics. When it comes to travel, both groups prefer to buy online.
Top Differences: Millennials vs. Boomers
Millennial consumers are more optimistic. They have a more favorable outlook on the economy (71%) and were more apt to maintain/increase spending during the recession (55%).
Millennials and Boomers have different buying priorities. Millennials place travel and apparel as their top two priorities for increased spending in 2014. Boomers are more focused on “necessities,” ranking packaged foods and insurance products higher.
Boomers and Millennials tend to access product information differently. While product research via PC is high with both groups, 60% of Millennials research via smart phone (vs. only 14% of Boomers). Boomers are twice as likely (at 38%) to research in newspapers or magazines.
Word-of-mouth sways Millennials. The younger consumers rank word-of-mouth most influential as they make purchase decisions across all categories. Boomers tend to rely on advertising and advice from sales reps.