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How We Shop: It Differs by Generation

By COLLOQUY Staff on December 6, 2016

Millennials grab most of the attention from brand marketers but baby boomers have greater disposable income and far more purchasing clout, COLLOQUY says in a new report about generational shopping differences.

The report, “Shopping by Generation,” is authored by COLLOQUY Editor-in-Chief Jeff Berry. “Retailers who fail to recognize issues uniquely important to baby boomers (age 52 to 65) could watch those shoppers walk out the door empty-handed,” Berry says.  

From COLLOQUY, a leading provider of loyalty marketing research, here are 10 shopping habits that make baby boomers different:

  1. Baby boomers are more demanding than consumers in Gen X (36 to 51), Gen Y (22 to 35) and Gen Z (4 to 21). In a LoyaltyOne survey of U.S. and Canadian consumers, baby boomers were the most likely to write off a retailer if a sales associate didn’t appreciate their business, if a store was messy and if returns were a hassle.
  2. Shopping isn’t relaxing for baby boomers. Just 27% agreed with the statement: “I think shopping is a great way to relax.” The boomer score is well below the other age groups.
  3. Baby boomers want convenience. LoyaltyOne survey results show boomers place higher value than all other age groups on an easy-access location, an easy-to-navigate store and a clear return policy.
  4. They know the price. Baby boomers scored higher than all the younger demographics for having a good idea of how much they pay for food and packaged goods.
  5. Baby boomers are confident shoppers. Just 12% of boomers said they rely on family and friends to help them decide on a purchase.
  6. At 84%, baby boomers easily topped all survey groups in saying they prefer to shop in-store.
  7. Just 37% of baby boomers said they’re likely to look around a store for new products, scoring well below millennials on browsing.
  8. Baby boomers aren’t stuck in the good old days. They are the only generation that doesn’t prioritize buying the brands they used while growing up.
  9. When purchasing something with which they have little experience, baby boomers, at 48%, are twice as likely as millennials to be influenced by the popularity of the item.
  10. Nearly seven out of 10 baby boomers (69%) said the word that best describes their membership experience in a loyalty program is “economical,” versus 52% for millennials.

“Shopping by Generation,” a 23-page report, is available to download free of charge.