Zoomers, Millennials, Generation X or Boomers: generational influence on eCommerce

Zoomers, Millennials, Generation X or Boomers: generational influence on eCommerce

The omni-channel marketing agency ADINDEX translated a large English-language study by the American company BigCommerce on the impact of Millennials, Z, X and baby boomers on omni-channel retail and published it in the Serpstat blog. The piece looks at where consumers shop online, the reasons they shop online and offline, the inconveniences consumers face while shopping online, what payment options different generations choose for online purchases, why online credit and installment plans are booming, how millennials, baby boomers and Generation Z feel about returning items online and offline, and what young consumers expect from retail.

Why shoppers shop where they shop

Americans most often shop in three places: Amazon, brand sites, and regular offline stores. But the reason they choose one place or another varies greatly from place to place and from generation to generation.

For example, Generation Z relies more on product reviews, looks at social media ads more often, and accesses brands' social media sites twice as often as the average consumer.

The study was based on an analysis of the behavior of American consumers, but we think that the information in the article will be interesting and relevant to the Ukrainian audience, among others.

The Millennial era is on the wane: now Generation Z is in the spotlight - new brands and apps are trying to win exactly its loyalty. Interestingly, Generation Z is also very different from its millennial predecessors when it comes to buying behavior.

It used to be important for consumers to be able to look at and try a product before they bought it, but now they care less and less. Generation Z is much more focused on a brand's social media presence, its reach and how close the brand is to their lifestyle. What's more, Generation Z isn't just guided by this when shopping on Amazon or on apps - it's also changing the way older generations shop.

Connect the service "Traffic and sales from Marketplace" from ADINDEX

However, this is not the only thing that distinguishes generation Z from its predecessors. According to statistics, Generation Z seeks a harmonious relationship with the eCommerce sphere: interacting with advertising, shopping on new platforms, spending more income and supporting with money those brands that have a clear positioning and match the values of their customers.

A brief generational synopsis:

• Generation Z is now 18 to 21 years old;

• Millennials are 22 to 37 years old;

• Generation X is 38 to 53 years old;

• Baby boomer generation 54 to 72 years old.

The Omni-Channel Retail Report: How Different Consumers Buy

The data below shows how U.S. consumers shop (by generation and across marketing channels). For this study, BigCommerce surveyed nearly 3,000 consumers.

Multichannel retailing is built on the fact that the company sells its products through multiple online channels (for example, in the online store, on marketplaces like prom.ua, in social networks). Omnichannel strategy is used by those retailers who have offices both online and offline. This strategy - a modern approach to sales. Its goal is to make sure that customers have a unifying user experience at every stage of their interaction with the brand. This differs from classic marketing, in which each channel was not necessarily optimized for the big picture.

Of course, this definition of an omni-channel strategy sounds like it's taken from a textbook. That's why we decided to add some definitions from foreign experts in the field.


Describes an omni-channel strategy as follows: "You meet people on the channels where they shop (whether offline, online or in social media) and connect the dots between those channels.

Your goal is to make shoppers rotate through the brand ecosystem so that each channel interacts with the others in harmony, increasing sales and user engagement."


Describes it as: "The ability to provide shoppers with a harmonious and seamless experience across all channels by connecting the different devices shoppers use to interact with your business."

Google describes it as: "you make sure that (retail) marketing strategies allow users to convert into buyers on any channel."


Gives the following definition: "Omnichannel strategies are stories that help you sell online and offline, and most often on multiple online channels (e.g., Amazon, eBay, Facebook, B2B).

We also emphasize the importance of presenting your products where your potential customers are already spending their time. This approach is now called 'contextual selling' - it's a more strategic version of omnichannel."

Typically, the retail omni-channel strategy is not used by startups or companies presenting exclusively online: businesses operating with this strategy usually have the means and resources to offer their services offline.

At the same time, retail can be quite complex, and omni-channel strategies are not always implemented in harmony. If you look from this point of view, we can say that literally a handful of representatives of retail are successfully implementing all of their omni-channel initiatives right now.

All because in the process of implementing such strategies on channels, many marketers often lose sight of a very important detail: what exactly what their consumer wants? So many retailers right now can only guess about this, but they don't know exactly.

Of course, they have their own data on how consumers use all of their channels, but omnichannel is not all about that. The Latin "omni" in its composition means "to perceive everything"-not just what's happening on your channels.

Accordingly, omni-channel marketing is more about providing a specific experience: giving customers what they want, and when they want it. But until now, there has been no detailed research on how, when and why today's consumers shop.

Even before that, though, one thing we knew for sure was that no one buys exclusively one way these days. People of all generations buy online, in stores and on marketplaces, from well-known manufacturers and independent local brands. From this we can draw a simple conclusion: profits come from different sources and from different devices.

Understanding this, BigCommerce has conducted a new study analyzing the current behavior of shoppers across channels. This research provides a better understanding of how, when, where and why people shop, helping commerce gain important insights into the preferences of today's shoppers.

Where consumers buy online

Generation Z buys on social networks 2-3 times more often than the average consumer: the leading social networks for them were Instagram and Snapchat. Generation X likes to buy more on Facebook.

• Only 9.6% of Generation Z shops offline, far differentiating it from older generations: 31.04% of Millennials, 27.5% of Generation X and 31.9% of baby boomers like to shop online.

Generation Z also spends less on Facebook products: just 11.8%. Millennials spend 29.39% of the total value of purchases, Generation X spends 34.21%, and baby boomers spend 24.56%.

Both millennials and Generation Z spend the majority of their shopping budget on items found on Instagram and Snapchat.

Overall, consumers prefer to shop on all channels.

Why shoppers shop where they shop

Americans most often shop in three places: Amazon, brand sites, and regular offline stores. But the reason they choose one place or another varies greatly from place to place and from generation to generation.

For example, Generation Z relies more on product reviews, looks at social media ads more often, and accesses brands' social media sites twice as often as the average consumer.

Why customers buy where they buy

The top three reasons are convenience, price and free shipping. Brand reputation and loyalty system were named the 4th and 5th reasons, respectively.

Why Consumers Shop on Amazon

American consumers of all generations choose to shop on Amazon for two main reasons - price and convenience. The third important reason was the ease of delivery: however, it was mentioned twice as rarely as the first two.

Younger generations buy from Amazon exclusively on Prime Day more often than others (though not too often):

Generation Z: 5%;

Millennials: 3,4%;

Generation X: 3.1%;

Baby boomers: 1.9%.

Why Consumers Buy Offline

Being able to inspect or try on items before purchase is the main reason why members of all generations buy from conventional stores. At the same time, it is twice as important for the baby boomer generation as it is for Generation Z.

Here's what the statistics show - being able to inspect and try on items before buying is important to:

27.88% of Generation Z;

29.11% of Millennials;

40% of Generation X;

45.44% of the baby boomer generation.

Both Generation Z and Millennials cite price as one of the top reasons to shop offline. However, generation Z, millennials, and generation X also cite speed and convenience as important factors for offline shopping.

Disadvantages faced by customers while shopping online

Initially, the inability to try on/try a product before purchase was one of the main disadvantages of online shopping. In addition, shoppers were often annoyed by the need to spend a large amount of time entering all the necessary information for payment and delivery.

Generation Z is getting older, and with it, the challenges shoppers face while shopping online are changing. Now among the main inconveniences are also the waiting time for delivery of goods and the cost of delivery.

Not being able to try on/try items before purchase is still a major inconvenience for millennials (26.16%), Generation X (32.28%) and baby boomers (31.91%). At the same time, only 18.4% of Generation Z cite it as the main disadvantage of online shopping.

For Generation Z, the main inconvenience is having to wait before getting a product (19.37% of respondents dislike this). And the cost of shipping is the second biggest reason for dissatisfaction among all generations (18.5% of millennials, 26% of Generation X, 32.3% of baby boomers and 31% of Generation Z dislike it).

How safe it is to use the site is of most concern to Generation Z (9.91%) and baby boomers (9%).

Number of payment options for online purchases

Right now, consumers still prefer to pay for big purchases with credit cards. However, if we look at the choice of payment options across generations, we see that younger generations prefer e-wallets (PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, etc.).

Millennials and Generation Z use e-wallets twice as often as Generation X or baby boomers. Here's what the statistics show: e-wallet as their primary method of payment will choose:

• 10.4% of Generation Z;

• 8 percent of millennials;

• 5.62% of Generation X;

• 2.3% of baby boomers.

Installments and loans are booming online

Installment and installment payment services are becoming increasingly popular online. In the fall of 2018, one such service, Klarna, received $20 million in financing from well-known retailer H&M. This allowed the service to expand its list of services and better integrate with the site. The data below makes it clear why.

Generation Z is actively interested in the installment payment service. Baby boomers remain the only generation most of whom (70.6%) are not ready to use installment and credit.

Requirements for payment methods are changing rapidly

The statistics on online credit are very curious. 47.59% of baby boomers would turn down a purchase they couldn't afford without credit (because they might end up paying more for the product because of credit interest). At the same time, only 22.13% of Generation Z, 25% of millennials and 33.9% of Generation X would refuse to buy in a similar situation.

41% of Generation Z and 44.12% of Millennials would buy a more expensive product than they originally planned if the online credit option were available to them. However, only 21.39% of baby boomers and 31.79% of Generation X would do this.

How different generations feel about returns

Generation Z expects to return approximately 75% of items purchased online. Millennials expect to return 50% of items, while Generation X and baby boomers plan to return less than 50%. While only 4% of Generation Z are thinking of returning more than 75% of items purchased online, that figure is three times higher than the other generations. On average, all generations plan to return approximately 25% of the goods they purchased online.

Large omni-channel retailers benefit from returns

The following data only confirms that Generation Z and millennials are more price-sensitive (and perhaps more savvy about discounts and bargains) than Generation X and baby boomers. Here's how many shoppers would be willing to return a product if they found it a more affordable alternative:

• 7.6% of Generation Z;

• 5.9% of millennials;

• 3.31% of Generation X;

• 1.74% of baby boomers.

Moreover, Generation Z and millennials are twice as likely to return goods because they were delivered too late and had to find an alternative in an offline shop. In such cases, goods are returned:

• 8.57% of Generation Z;

• 3.46% of millennials;

• 2.34% of Generation X;

• 2.61% of baby boomers.

How about ordering multiple items online, comparing them after receiving them, and then returning the ones that didn't fit? Generation Z does this twice as often as millennials and generation X, and six times as often as baby boomers.

Returns to offline shops

The majority of online purchases are returned by mail, but the situation is very different when it comes to offline shops or drop-off points - shoppers often prefer this method.

12.13% of baby boomers are willing to return items to Amazon; among Generation Z there are almost twice as many, 21.7%.

It's the end result that counts

Approximately 30% of shoppers of all generations expect not just to return a product to an offline shop, but to make a purchase there after the return.

Young shoppers are choosing loyalty over data collection

Now that data collection on customers is becoming more regulated and obvious, they are becoming clear about what information is being tracked about them. And older generations know more about it than younger generations (especially than Generation Z).

Most shoppers would prefer not to participate in data collection if they had the opportunity to do so

Despite this, a similar study involving UK shoppers found that they do not ask companies to stop collecting their data. This suggests that even if shoppers don't like the data collection process, they are not willing to put up with the inconvenience of changing it.

Don't underestimate your customers
What can brands offer customers to get more data from them? Most baby boomers think 'absolutely nothing'. The younger generations, on the other hand, are more loyal: They are interested in getting special perks in exchange for more data about themselves.

How to develop your own omni-channel strategy

Use the data in this report to build your own omni-channel strategy. However, it must not only be developed, but also applied intelligently.

Here's what can help you do just that:

• Collect data, track conversions and target your messages to different channels.

• Make quality buying and user experience your top priority.

• Automate what you can to save nerves and time

• Don't forget: an omni-channel strategy uses different channels for different devices.

• Allocate resources and use useful technologies.

• Conversion is only the first step; after that, it's important for you to make the rest of the process as customer-friendly as possible.