Market intelligence company NPD recently published a paper titled “Winning Millennials, Gen X and Boomers with the Five Ws.” It analyzes shopping habits of Americans in different age categories based on item-by-item data from individual consumers collected by the NPD Checkout Tracking service.
brick and mortar shopping
–as one might guess, the younger the consumer, the greater the preference for online. The older the consumer, the greater the preference for bricks and mortar.
Baby Boomers are now seniors, meaning they are adjusting down their spending in line with reduced pension–as opposed to salary–income. Boomers want stability, stores they’re accustomed to, availability of necessities, value for money and one-stop shopping. …in other words, warehouse clubs, where they spend on all sorts of items. Pretty boring.
Boomers do frequent convenience stores, but mostly for gasoline. Food accounts for less than a fifth of what they spend there.
–Millennials like convenience stores. They spend more than other age groups on gift cards there (why, I don’t know). But they, and Gen X also buy a lot of food in C-stores.
Millennials and Gen Xers ( go to warehouse clubs, but strictly for groceries.
Amazon is the king of online for all generations, making up 20% – 25% of individuals’ total online spending.
Millennials spend the largest part of their budgets online, Boomers the least.
Millennials use mobile apps of all sorts–like Uber, Seamless, GrubHub, Airbnb,and Etsy. (Interestingly, NPD also mentions Target among Millennial favorites.) Boomers, in contrast, stick with department store websites, QVC and travel services.
The younger the consumer, the more likely the purchase will be something that’s available primarily online or easiest to get online–meaning books, music, software or tickets.
Data from Washington show that Millennials are the largest segment of the US population. They also show that Millennials’ income is at present about half the size of Boomers–but that Millennials pay is rising as they gain more work experience, while Boomers’ income is being more or less cut in half as they retire. To my mind, this secular trend argues for investing where Millennials shop.
I hadn’t known how important convenience stores are to Millennials.
I’m more surprised, though, by the characterization of Boomers as a group already deep into a low-income retired lifestyle. I’d have guessed that was still years off. More reason to look for where Millennials shop.