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Analysis: Younger shoppers shift e-commerce spend during COVID-19 pandemic

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Consumers under 56 are focusing online purchases on certain categories as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.

According to analysis of transactions made through payments provider Klarna, younger shoppers are focusing on what they will wear and their home environment as most Americans are now under some type of “stay-at-home” order. Klarna analyzed purchases by shoppers in the Gen Z (ages 18–23), millennial (ages 24–39) and Gen X (ages 40–55) demographics over the weeks of March 22–28 and March 15–21, as well as a base period of Feb. 1–March 7, 2020. The company broke out purchases into seven major categories and then analyzed how each category’s share of all Klarna purchases has shifted over time in each age group.

According to the analysis, Gen Z, millennial and Gen X consumers who use Klarna have increased their share of e-commerce spending on apparel, footwear and accessories as well as home and garden items. Week-over-week in the week ended March 28, 2020, the apparel, footwear and accessories category’s share of all Klarna-enabled purchases increased by 18% among Gen Zers. Shoppers in this age group grew their share of apparel, footwear and accessories spending from 44% in the week ended March 21 to 52% in the week ended March 28.

Apparel, footwear and accessories spending also increased 13% among millennials, from 32% in the week ended March 21 to 36% in the week ended March 28. E-commerce spend in this category grew 4% among Gen Xers, accounting for 26% of the volume of Gen Xers’ purchases in the week ended March 21, with that share growing to 27% in the week ended March 28.
The home and garden category’s share of all Klarna-enabled purchases also grew across all three age groups. The category’s volume share increased slightly among Gen Zers and millennials and by 9% among Gen Xers week-over-week in the week ended March 28.

Sales volumes in three other major categories—leisure, sport and hobby; marketplace; and intangible products (which includes event tickets and travel services)—fell week over week from March 22–28 among all three demographic groups.

Other interesting findings include:
•    Gen Xers increased their share of spending on entertainment slightly week-over-week, while Gen Zers’ and millennials’ share of spending on the category was roughly flat.
•    Gen Xers were also the only demographic group among the three to increase their share of spending on electronics week-over-week, with category volumes up 11% in the week ended March 28 among the group.

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