Study: How different are millennial customers?

A new consumer study from Accenture examines the assumption that millennials shop differently from their elders.

According to a global Accenture survey of 6,000 respondents, including 1,707 millennials born between 1980 and 2000, many millennial shopping habits are in line with those of Gen X (1965-79) and Baby Boomers (1946-64). For example, more than half (55%) survey respondents in all three demographics said that they seek out “the cheapest return option.”

In addition, 41% of respondents in all three groups said they practice “showrooming”—examining merchandise at a nearby retail store and then shopping for it online to find the lowest price—more often than they did a year ago. Accenture analysis indicates this shift is due, in part, to the current high penetration levels of smartphones, which can enable customers to digitally search for an item easily, even while in a store.

Thirty-six percent of those surveyed from all three generations said they will go online to buy from a retailer’s website if they want a product when the company’s stores are closed. And on average, 89% said having access to real-time product availability information would influence their shopping choices in terms of which stores they would frequent.

However, the study did also reveal some millennial-specific shopping preferences. For instance, 68% of millennial respondents demand an integrated, seamless customer experience regardless of channel. Almost all (95%) millennial respondents want brands to court them actively, including emailing coupons or mailing them to their homes.

But in another millennial response demonstrating many of their shopping habits mirror those of previous generations, 82% of millennial consumers prefer brick-and-mortar stores.
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