Millennials and Boomers’ Retail Shopping Attitudes: They’re More Alike Than You Think -
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Millennials and Boomers’ Retail Shopping Attitudes: They’re More Alike Than You Think
Shopping Seniors - Carrying Her Bags

Do you think Millennials and Baby Boomers are miles apart in their attitudes? Not when it comes to shopping, apparently. A study by Radius Global Market Research found that although there are some key differences between Millennials and Boomers when they go shopping, there are also some surprising similarities.

How They’re Alike

  • The vast majority of both Millennials (90%) and Boomers (86%) regularly go online to research products before they buy.
  • Boomers and Millennials both use social media–for example, female Boomers and Millennials use Facebook at nearly the same rate (90%).
  • Millennials and Boomers shop in pretty much the same places. When buying everyday packaged goods, electronics and clothing, both groups prefer to buy in brick-and-mortar stores. However, both groups prefer to make travel-related purchases online.
  • Millennials and Boomers are buying the same things. Both groups bought more technology products last year, and both plan to spend more on travel and apparel this year.
  • Finally, Millennials and Boomers are motivated by similar factors when making purchases. Either quality or value is typically the deciding factor in a purchase for both groups.

How They’re Different

  • Millennials are more optimistic. Nearly three-fourths (71%) have a positive outlook on the economy, and more than half (55%) say they maintained or increased spending during the recession.
  • Boomers and Millennials get product information differently. Although both groups do most of their product research on computers, 60% of Millennials research on a smartphone (compared to 14% of Boomers). In addition, Boomers are twice as likely (at 38%) to research using newspapers or magazines.
  • Word-of-mouth matters more to Millennials. While Boomers still rely on ads and advice from salespeople, Millennials say word-of-mouth is the biggest influence on their purchasing in all product categories.

What It Means to You

  • Focus first on online advertising and marketing, since both groups head online first when considering products.
  • If targeting Boomers, put your secondary focus on traditional print advertising and sales outreach via a well-educated sales team.
  • If targeting Millennials, use social media marketing and online ratings and review sites to reach out to their peer groups and influencers.

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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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