Skip to main content

Study details generation gap when it comes to mobile shopping


SAN FRANCISCO — Researching and browsing gifts on mobile far outranks purchasing items (whether at home or in a competitor’s store), and even coveted millennial shoppers are heading to the store or laptop to complete major purchases, according to a study by RichRelevance.

The study reveals that 72% of millennials plan to use their mobile phone to shop this holiday compared to 54% of middle-aged respondents. The top three reasons that Millennials turn to their phones are to research (51%), compare prices (46%) and browse (44%), which far outrank purchasing gifts (31%).

Millennials and middle-aged shoppers overwhelmingly cite frustration with research and checkout on a small screen as the top barrier to mobile purchases (74% and 54% respectively). The desire to see and touch an item ranks a distant second for millennials (41%), indicating that conventional wisdom on the role of the store may need to change.

Other findings included:

  • When it comes to price point on mobile, the majority of shoppers across all generations shy away from big-ticket items on their mobile phones. Overall, 58% won’t purchase anything more than $100 on mobile. The hesitation is surprisingly more acute for younger shoppers: 68% of millennials won’t purchase anything more than $100 on mobile, with 41% setting $50 as their upper limit.

  • Mobile shoppers are increasingly using their phones to research items—particularly expensive items—for purchase in the store,” said David Selinger, CEO of RichRelevance. “They’re also using phones to replace store functions previously held by associates such as information and checkout. Successful omnichannel retailers are respecting the multitude of ways that Americans shop, and providing personalized digital experiences in the store, on mobile—wherever consumers are In other findings:

  • When asked specifically about the store, 62% of millennial respondents said they will use mobile phones to research items before they buy them in the store, and well more than half (56%) plan to use their phones to research in the store more than they did last holiday season. Looking across generations, 52% of shoppers will use their mobile to research a purchase.

  • More than any other generation, millennials are comfortable turning to their phone instead of a sales associate when they need information in the store. Forty-two percent would rather use their phone than find an associate (versus 23% for middle-aged shoppers).

  • Favorite digital innovations for millennials in the store include special deals and promotions served to a smartphone (52%), the ability to order online and pick up in the store (52%) and the ability to check out anywhere in the store (45%). Millennials are also more excited about charging stations than any other generation—an easy holiday addition for retail stores.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds