How Millennials Shop Online -
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How Millennials Shop Online

If you own an ecommerce site, you know Millennial customers are the wave of the future. But what matters to these crucial customers when they’re shopping online? A study from Urban Land Institute, Shopping and Entertainment in the Digital Age, took a closer look at Millennials’ online buying behavior. Here are three key things you need to know:

Millennials spend a lot of time shopping online. A whopping 45 percent of respondents say they spend at least an hour a day surfing retail-oriented websites. And while women have the reputation as power shoppers, when it comes to Millennials, it’s men who hold that title. Millennial men were more likely than women to spend two hours or more per day on retail sites—20 percent of men did so, compared with just 13 percent of women. In fact, 8 percent of men spend three or more hours a day on shopping sites—twice the percentage of women who did so.

Brick-and-mortar still matters. For some product categories, brick-and-mortar stores still hold sway even with Millennials. Forty-seven percent prefer to research and buy cosmetics and personal care product in stores, for example, while 23 percent prefer to buy them online. The products most likely to be researched and purchased online, without ever visiting a store, were sporting goods and athletic products (32 percent) and electronics (27 percent).

However, there’s a gray area because some Millennials prefer to research products online but buy in stores, while others prefer to research in-store and buy online (what’s called “showrooming”). Clearly, for Millennials, it’s natural to go online, whether to purchase, to research a purchase or both, but they also enjoy some degree of touching and feeling the merchandise. That means—at least for now—that having both a brick-and-mortar location and an ecommerce site can benefit your business when it comes to attracting these customers. Whether the preference will gradually shift to all-online remains to be seen.

Let’s make a deal. Not surprisingly since they’re in the early stages of their careers and often dealing with hefty student loans, Millennials dig discounts and deals. One of their favorite ways to get deals is by shopping on eBay—65 percent of males and 55 percent of females use the auction site, which combines Millennials’ passion for unique, one-of-a-kind items with their love of discounts. While men flock to eBay, women are searching for social media deals. Over half of female Millennials say they use Twitter or Facebook to keep up with sales and get alerts about discounts, as do 44 percent of male Millennials.’s online marketing services can help you promote your website to all kinds of customers. Learn more.



Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+ and, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.
Rieva Lesonsky

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