Study: Gen Z, millennials have different shopping habits

Gen Z and millennials do not approach retail in the same way, according to a new study of consumer panel data.

Data from the Numerator InfoScout OmniPanel consumer panel of more than 500,000 U.S. shoppers reveals that millennials see more value in online shopping than Gen Z. Sixty-three percent of millennial panelists said shopping online saves them time, compared to 53% of Gen Z panelists.

Similar disparities exist in percentages of panelists who said shopping online saves them money (46% of millennials, 40% of Gen Z), it can be convenient to have orders delivered (33% of millennials, 26% of Gen Z), and they buy hard-to-find items online (28% of millennials, 24% of Gen Z). In addition, the online channel captures 10.4% of millennial spend, compared to 7.4% of Gen Z spend.

Gen Z consumers are also less likely to plan their purchases ahead of time, meaning they may be more receptive to experiences or offers designed to prompt impulse buying. For example, 59% of millennials and 51% of Gen Z usually create a list before shopping. Thirty-six percent of millennials and 29% of Gen Z often use coupons, while 33% of millennials and 27% of Gen Z usually check store ads to see what’s on sale. Gen Z shoppers are more likely, however, to make impulse purchases (22%) than millennials (19%).

In addition, analysis of generational shopping behavior at three major retailers demonstrates that Gen Z shoppers are at least in some cases more inclined to visit brick-and-mortar stores than their older counterparts. Gen Z panelists are more likely than millennial panelists to visit a physical Walmart store (93.8% vs. 91.6%), and less likely to visit (19.9% vs. 23.9%).

Gen Z is less likely to visit either a Target store (83.1% vs. 86.3%) or (11.5% vs. 18%), which may indicate Target is less popular with younger customers. Gen Z is also less likely to visit e-commerce juggernaut (51.7% vs. 57.5%).