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Study: Millennials may be impulsive shoppers, but they plan ahead


A new survey indicates millennial shopping habits are more complex than they are often given credit for.

According to the 2020 Consumer Culture Report from public relations agency 5WPR, millennial shoppers age 18-34 are more likely to make impulse purchases (64%) than Gen X shoppers age 35-54 (53%) or baby boomer shoppers age 55 and older (36%).

However, millennials are also more likely to watch carefully for sales before purchasing an item they really want (90%) than Gen Xers (85%) or baby boomers (79%). In addition, millennials (80%) are much more likely to keep a running wish list of items in their online carts at favorite e-commerce sites than Gen Xers (66%) or baby boomers (31%). 

There are similar discrepancies in how likely shoppers in a certain generation are to check items in their cart several times for discounts before making a purchase. Eighty-two percent of millennials, but only 68% of Gen Xers and 49% of baby boomers, will track their online carts in this manner.

Although Facebook has gained a reputation of being the social media platform of choice for older generations, millennials (77%) are more likely to report using Facebook daily than Gen Xers (68%) or baby boomers (52%). Generational differences in daily social media use are most pronounced for Instagram (70% of millennials, compared to 39% of Gen Xers and 9% of baby boomers. 

Generational discrepancies also exist for daily use of Twitter (54% of millennials, 38% of Gen Xers and 9% of baby boomers) and Pinterest (38% of millennials, 23% of Gen Xers and 6% of baby boomers).

When it comes to influences on purchase decisions, similar majorities of respondents from each generation say they are influenced by word of mouth (93% of millennials and 89% of both Gen Xers and baby boomers) and online customer reviews (90% of millennials, 84% of Gen Xers and 77% of baby boomers). However, millennials are more likely to be influenced by someone they follow on Facebook (67% of millennials, 48% of Gen Xers and 22% of baby boomers) or Instagram (72% of millennials, 41% of Gen Xers and 9% of baby boomers). A majority of all three generations say it is important they buy from companied aligning with their values (83% of millennials, 73% of Gen Xers and 60% of baby boomers).

In one final interesting data point, 68% of “digitally native” millennials prefer finding new products in-store to online.

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