May 1, 2018
By Paul Bubny
Even as Millennials follow their parents’ examples and start families, they’re not emulating Mom and Dad when it comes to shopping habits. A study from the National Retail Federation (NRF) finds that the generation born between 1981 and 1994 differs both in lifestyle and spending patterns from previous generations of parents.
“The Millennial generation has at turns confounded, inspired and challenged researchers and analysts with their spending habits,” said Katherine Cullen, director of retail and consumer insights at NRF. “As many Millennials move into parenthood, we are beginning to see how their expectations and shopping preferences compare with those of previous generations. Whether it’s using a subscription service to make sure diapers don’t run out, or going online to research the best crib or car seat, Millennials shop differently than other parents.”
About 40% of Millennials hold a graduate degree, or more than twice the 19% rate of other parents. Sixty-nine percent of Millennial respondents to an NRF survey earn more than the national median income of $59,000 a year, compared with 53% of other parents.
Millennials also hold a positive outlook on their futures: NRF found that the generation’s consumer confidence has risen by more than 20 percentage points since 2008, while one-third believe their financial situation has improved over the last year. And 80% of Millennials with children are in their 30s.
Not surprisingly, Millennials carry their reliance on mobile devices into parenthood. Seventy-eight percent of the Millennial parents surveyed use their phones to research products, compared with 58% of other parents. Similar percentages use their smartphones to check prices, place an order or follow up with a review, again at higher rates than those of prior generations.
Since Millennial parents are often in a hurry, 86% have used same-day shipping, compared with just 67% of parents from other generations. And, they’re willing to pay for convenience: just 53% expect free shipping on small orders under $50, compared with 66% of other parents. They’re also twice as likely to use subscription services.
“To keep parents of any generation happy, brands and retailers must deliver on both price and quality,” Cullen said. “But Millennials are very concerned about good customer services, and are twice as likely to back out of a purchase for lack of it. For Millennials, service ranks ahead of convenience, selection and loyalty programs.”
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