Understanding Shoppers across the Generations

They say you can’t please all the people all the time.

In a world that changes technologically and, socially and politically almost every day, these words could appear to be obviously true.

In recent years more focus has been put on researching the demographics that form society – who people really are – than ever before. Retailers are benefitting from insights gained regardingthe key four generations that make up the global customer base.

  • Generation Z
  • Millennials
  • Generation X
  • Baby Boomers

While each consumer group behaves in different manners, statistics show that it is possible to please all the consumers all the time. How? By employing an effective omnichannel retail strategy that meets their retail expectations.

Who are the generations and what are their expectations?

Generation Z:

Generation Z’ers are 18-21 and are the kings and queens of social media. They have never known a world without it. They consult, research, feedback and contribute to social media more than any other generation.

For retailers whose target audience is made up even partly of Gen Z’ers, a fluid online and offline experience is truly valuable. 67% of Gen Z’ers say that they make purchases in a store. This is almost three times the number that shop primarily online – 22% (19.

They expect omnichannel technologies, such asinstore touchpoints, that allow them to browse and purchase electronically whilst in store.


Millennials are the famous, or infamous, generation that are 22-37 years old. The millennial generation grew up in the last 30 years, they saw the explosion of computer usage, followed by smartphone usage. They are connected to the internet 24/7.

From this you could be forgiven for assuming they have left the brick-and-mortar store and migrated completely to online retail? Actually no. Interestingly according to research, while older millennials are more likely shop online, younger millennials have made a sharp return to brick-and-mortar store shopping (5).

While about a third of millennials make purchases from their desktop computer (2). 45% do the research from their computer and then purchase instore (3). Catering for the expectations for millennials instore is as important as an effective online presence.

Generation X:

An often-unaddressed generation, Generation X are 38-53 and grew up in a world in transition between pen and paper and computers. In particular the cross-over between online and offline retail is very important to Generation X’ers.

They are heavy users of digital channels to studiously research products and will not proceed topurchase until they have thoroughly read-up online regarding the quality and longevity of an item.

40% of Generation X’ers state that the ability to touch and inspect an item before purchase is the reason they choose brick-and-mortar over any other channel for making their final purchase (4).

Baby Boomers:

Baby boomers are 54-72, and often have cash to splash. Many are retired or close to and have made larger purchases, such as their home, earlier in life. They are fluent users of ecommerce, however statistics tell us that they tend to stick with basic forms of social media, such as Facebook.

Boomers in general do not shop for fun. They expect an expedited shopping experience with a high level of customer service by equipped shop assistants, and this is a crucial factor in their preference for brick-and-mortar stores over online retail.

The only way to please all the people all the time? A slick, well planned omnichannel strategy using retail technologies that meet the expectations of customers across the generations. Thesesolutions are available from international retail technology providers at Why not check out how they can revolutionize your retail strategy and broaden your appeal across all generations.