How Generations shop differently?


In my time it was easy to shop. We never had so many options or devices or platforms to choose from.
Now, It has also become difficult for marketers to understand the different challenges posed by different generations.

Different generations are buying differently.

A global survey has been done by “Salesforce” with 6000 consumers across different countries and analyzing 1.4 billion E-commerce visits.
Make a box for these definitions.

Definitions of Generations:

  • Traditionalists & baby boomers – Born before 1965
  • Gen X- Born 1965-1980
  • Millennials & Gen Z – Born 1981-1999

I have tried to give you a simplified version of the findings and how one can market yourself to these different consumer segments to get the maximum bang for your buck.

  • Make it fresh

    Across all segments, consumers prefer fresh products. This behavior is more prevalent among Millennial and Gen Z segments. Young generations are particular about freshness.

    Hence to attract this segment, your offering has to be fresh and all your communications and product catalogs must display new products- whether it is a physical store or your web site.

    The older generation is more tolerant and accommodating- not this new generation. They will not compromise.
    So you, better rise to the challenge

  • Be where I am

    Shoppers will seamlessly switch channels and devise as they seek new inspiration, seek reviews and generally find multiple ways to collect information.
    In case you want loyal shoppers, you need to be present where you expect your customers to be-be it be digital space or on brick & mortar space.
    Retailer and brands are losing customer loyalty due to the invasion of market place platforms like Amazon and Flipkart.
    This will keep on happening as marketplace websites will provide more convenience and in some cases economy to the shopper.
    Hence, as a new marketer, you need to be present in the market place as well as at the physical store level. So you may retain your loyal customers.

  • Brick and Mortar is still relevant

    Yes, it appears surprising, but brick & Mortar (physical retail shop) is not going to die anytime soon.
    The physical retail shop is still a preferred purchase destination for all age groups, particularly for Traditionalist & Baby boomers.
    Millennial and Gen Z segment is also loyal to this purchase destination although they are also equally preferring new buying methods through phones and laptops.

As far as customer service is concerned, the older generation will go to the physical center and get things resolved rather than depend on the digital platform.
Hence there is a clear guideline for marketers- Make your physical customer care department strong to service your customers

  • Provide meaning

    The research also showed that consumers reward brands which provide a deeper meaning to the relationship than just having a transactional relationship. Any personal messaging done by the brand/company is appreciated.
    As every company is giving more and more catalogs, product information and sales pitch- shoppers are preferring brands, which manage the personal relationship, which can cut through the heavy clutter at the market place.
    Also, across all generations, consumers prefer brands which also tend to provide loyalty programs which are based on unique customer experience and personal interaction-not just collecting meaningless points. This was more evident in younger generations-who value personal relationships more.

    Similarly, across all generations, it was seen that consumers prefer brands who are perceived to be more value-based. These companies do social or charitable work, provide donations for social welfare and are seen as good citizen companies.
    This was seen a case of reverse marketing, where consumers seek out brands instead of brands seeking the customer.
    The lesson for brands- Future will belong to brands/companies which are seen to have superior values systems and are more aware of being a good social citizen.
    Millennials & Gen Z generations will prefer brands who are socially responsible and have a strong value system in place.

It is no secret that retailers and brands face a massive challenge in the future due to changing consumer landscape. They need to understand the requirement of different generations and address these generations as per their needs.

Source: Data sourced from Shopper. first Retailing 2018, Salesforce & Publices
You can also get the research from

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