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Generational Divide: how each generation shops differently

March 6, 2019
Generational Divide: how each generation shops differently

COMPILED BY SEAN C. TARRY

THE Canadian consumer is complex. We’re some of the world’s most active mobile users, are well-connected with each other and with retail brands through intensive use of social media sites, and are willing to move from channel to channel and back again during our individual shopping journeys. And, what makes the complexity of our behaviour that much more challenging for retail marketers and their teams is the nuanced difference between the demographics when it comes to tastes and preferences.

To help retailers better understand their consumers, Salesforce recently developed a report called Millennials, Gen Z, Boomers and Beyond: How Each Generation Shops Differently. The report focuses on the differences in attitude between each demographic when it comes to retailers’ product offering, the online and in-store experience, customer service, loyalty, device preference and more.

The following are some insights from the report, providing retail marketers with a snapshot of each demographics’ habits.

Source: Salesforce’s Millennials, Gen Z, Boomers and Beyond: How Each Generation Shops Differently

THE SILENT BOOM

ALTHOUGH Boomers and Traditionalists may not find themselves the focus of too many contemporary marketing campaigns, their purchasing power is still significant, and their behaviours and attitudes as consumers should remain relevant to retailers looking to attract them to their brand.

BOOMERS

Born: 1944-1964
Traits: Optimistic; team-oriented; service-oriented; all about process and relationship.

TRADITIONALISTS

Born: 1922-1943
Traits: Loyal; respectful of authority; thorough and hard-working.

44% are more likely to buy from a retailer or brand that offers customized products. 30% are attracted by limited edition products and 19% by collaborations with influencers

61% want to see new merchandise whenever visiting a site or store.

62% prefer a physical retail store when making a purchase. 33% prefer to use a computer or laptop, while only 5% prefer to use a phone.

25% choose marketplaces when buying an item for the first time. However, that number increases to 42% when buying an item for the second time.

57% prefer to visit a physical retail store to resolve a customer service issue. 35% prefer to use a computer or laptop, while only 9% prefer to use a phone.

55% agree or strongly agree that they like it when retailers provide product recommendations based on their purchase history.

57% are more likely or much more likely to buy from a company offering a loyalty or rewards program, compared to a company that does not.

31% agree or strongly agree that they’re more likely to buy from a brand or retailer that offers a charitable donation with purchase.

THE FORGOTTEN GENERATION

BORN in between the Boomers and younger Millennials, this generation has most always been overshadowed by other generations when it comes to purchasing power and influence. However, in a unified commerce approach, marketers would be wise to take every customer’s habits and preferences across all channels into account.

GEN X

Born: 1965-1981
Traits: Cynical; informal, casual and direct; self-reliant.

68% want to see new merchandise whenever visiting a site or store

32% choose marketplaces when buying an item for the first time. However, that number increases to 47% when buying an item for the second time.

58% are more likely to buy from a retailer or brand that offers customized products. 49% are tempted by limited edition products and 34% by collaborations with influencers.

44% prefer a physical retail store when making a purchase. 38% prefer to use a computer or laptop, while 18% prefer to use a phone.

40% prefer to visit a physical retail store to resolve a customer service issue. 39% prefer to use a computer or laptop, while 20% prefer to use a phone.

62% agree or strongly agree that they like it when retailers provide product recommendations based on their purchase history

68% are more likely or much more likely to buy from a company offering a loyalty or rewards program, compared to a company that does not.

42% agree or strongly agree that they’re more likely to buy from a brand or retailer that offers a charitable donation with purchase

THE CONNECTED GENERATIONS

THERE’S no doubting the fact that consumers of the Millennial and Gen Z cohorts are the most prized to retail marketers today. And understanding their shopping tastes, preferences and purchasing habits has never been more important.

MILLENNIALS

Born: 1982-2000
Traits: Confident and assertive; accustomed to praise, supervision and structure; progressive, globally-minded and open to diverse views.

GEN Z

Born: 2000-Present
Traits: Connected; global; social; technological.

69% are more likely to buy from a retailer or brand that offers customized products. 61% are enticed by limited edition products and 48% by collaborations with influencers

75% want to see new merchandise whenever visiting a site or store.

37% prefer a physical retail store when making a purchase. 36% prefer to use a computer or laptop, while 27% prefer to use a phone.

34% choose marketplaces when buying an item for the first time. However, that number increases to 50% when buying an item for the second time.

35% prefer to use a computer or laptop to resolve a customer service issue. 33% prefer the phone, while 32% prefer to visit a physical retail store

68% agree or strongly agree that they like it when retailers provide product recommendations based on their purchase history.

72% are more likely or much more likely to buy from a company offering a loyalty or rewards program, compared to a company that does not.

55% agree or strongly agree that they’re more likely to buy from a brand or retailer that offers a charitable donation with purchase

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