Keep in mind that everyone is unique, regardless of their generation. Use these generational shopping habits not as gospel, but as general rules of thumb to build your business.
Baby Boomers were born between 1946 to 1964. This generation tends to have more trust in branding and advertising. They grew up in an age where quality was king, so they learned that what was on the shelf was to be trusted. Baby Boomers tend to be more brand-loyal than other generations, due to the trust they developed in those large brands. They are loyal to big-name brands with longevity like Levi, Prada, Gerber and more.
This generation prioritizes long-lasting relationships with retailers. They know what they like and they enjoy a consistent, quality experience every time. For this reason, many Boomers aren’t budget-sensitive (this is changing as more Boomers retire).
Generally speaking, Baby Boomers prefer to spend a little more money on the finer things in life. For example, a Boomer might order a more expensive steak at dinner or order a nicer bottle of perfume because, hey, they’ve earned it.
Baby Boomers also value in-person communication. They want excellent, personable customer service and prefer to shop in-store to get it.
Gen X was born between 1965 and 1980. This generation is smaller than the Boomers, but they make up around 20 per cent of the U.S. population.
Approximately 60 per cent of the Gen X population attended college and many of them have embraced technology. However, Gen X didn’t grow up with technology in their hands like recent generations, so they aren’t as reliant on tech to make their buying decisions.
As children of Baby Boomers, Gen X are often taking care of their elderly parents. They’re thinking about tuition for their kids, their mortgage, funding retirement and caring for their family.
For that reason, coupons and discounts bring Gen X shoppers to stores in droves. They tend to prefer direct mail and are always on the lookout for a good deal.
Millennials makeup around a quarter of the U.S. population and include people born between 1980 and 1996.
Early millennials remember life before technology, but most of them grew up with technology in the home. Most were teens or young adults when mobile tech became popular.
Because millennials grew up in the shadow of the Great Recession, they have a healthy suspicion of big companies. That’s why they use the internet to do a lot of research before they make a purchase. Millennials often walk into a store already knowing what they want to buy. They have zero tolerance for inaccuracies or lies and rely on their social network for recommendations and information.
They prefer to give their business to brands that are authentic, charitable and innovative. Once you’ve earned a millennial’s trust, they’ll stay with you.
Gen Z was born between 1996 through the present day, accounting for around 30 per cent of the population. While it’s still in the early days for this generation, they’re the first generation to be born with technology in their hand.
Gen Z wants to make the world a better place. They need to know that their purchases are going to have an impact on the world. That’s why they choose brands like Toms, Ivory Ella and Pura Vida. Gen Z takes the millennial love of technology even further. They do their research before making a purchase, consulting reviews before going in-store.
The upside to this is that, if Gen Z loves your brand, they’re going to gush about you online. This generation has a platform and they aren’t afraid to use it.
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