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How Gen Z, millennial omnichannel shoppers differ from Gen X, boomers

Gen Z woman
Younger consumers shop differently.

Younger consumers have distinct behaviors when it comes to omnichannel commerce.

According to “The Great Generational Shopping Divide,” a study of more than 2,000 consumers in the U.S., U.K., and Australia conducted by global data intelligence platform Near, 80.1% of respondents across generations are shopping online.

However, Gen Z (62.7%) and millennial (64.6%) respondents are twice as likely as boomer (32.9%) respondents to use omnichannel approaches, where shoppers use more than one channel in their purchase journey. Slightly more than half (52%) of all respondents have adopted omnichannel shopping behaviors.


The study also reveals that Gen Z and millennial respondents are seeking deeper engagement and personalized experiences from brands and shopping centers:

  • Close to nine in 10 (88.2%) of Gen Z and millennial respondents want to engage with their favorite shopping center, compared to 53.3% of boomer respondents.
  • More than half (53.7%) of Gen Z and millennial respondents shop more from brands that have an app, compared to one in five (20.5%) boomer respondents.
  • More than eight in 10 (84.3%) of Gen Z and millennial respondents are more encouraged to shop in stores with personalized in-store recommendations based on previous shopping history, compared to six in 10 (59%) Gen X and boomer respondents.

Generational spending patterns

Younger respondents plan to spend more on shopping for the rest of the year compared to last year, including during the holidays:

  • Roughly half of both Gen Z (51.6%) and millennial (47.7%) respondents  plan to spend more for the rest of the year, including the holidays, compared to just 29.3% of Gen X and 20.6% of boomer respondents.
  • However, millennial and Gen X respondents are the most impacted by the economy - 42.3% of millennials and 42.7% of Gen X say the economy is affecting their spending plans a lot, compared to 33% of Gen Z and 34.2% of boomer respondents.
  • Gen Z and millennial respondents are most likely to shop the sales over Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday - 43.8% of surveyed Gen Z and 41.4% of millennials plan to shop over Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday, compared to 27.8% of Gen X and 18.9% of boomers.

"Many retailers simply don’t have the data they need to navigate in today’s ever-changing retail landscape and must be armed with valuable consumer insights to ensure they’re making the right business decisions, while also keeping pace with their shoppers’ latest desires,” said Anil Mathews, CEO of Near. “With the latest findings in Near’s report, retail decision-makers have the ability to unlock immense value through our new data and gain competitive insights.”

[Read more: Gen Z shoppers prefer off-price, discount retail; value speed; credit-averse]

The survey was conducted between July 7-19 2023, with a total of 2,048 global respondents in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, census-weighted by age, gender, and geography.

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