Generations Y, Z Differ in Key Shopping Attitudes, Habits – GfK Study

Baby Boomers still lag in mobile behaviors; but the two Millennial
generations also diverge often

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–From their use of computers for online purchases to their top reasons
for choosing to buy in brick-and-mortar stores, Generations Y and Z part
company on important points in a new GfK study of shopping habits and

Not surprisingly, some of the biggest gaps in the new data can be found
between the younger generations and the Baby Boomers (ages 51 to 68),
who have been slower to adopt mobile shopping habits. Generations Y
(ages 25 to 34) and Z (18 to 24) – often referred to collectively as
Millennials – are much more likely to report, for example, that they
made a purchase via a smartphone. The figures are 31% and 34% for Gens Y
and Z, respectively, compared to just 7% of Boomers and 15% of Gen X
(ages 35 to 50).

To learn more about the study, click

When it comes to making purchases with a desktop or laptop computer,
however, Gen Y and the Boomers registered similar levels (40% and 43%
respectively), while Gen Z came in at just 32%.

The study also shows that Gens Y and Z differ in their reasons for
choosing to buy in store versus online. For example, when Gen Z
consumers choose to make online purchases, they are more likely to be
motivated by

  • “saving money (better pricing)” (Gen Z: 60%; Gen Y: 46%) and
  • “recommended by people I trust” (Gen Z: 31%; Gen Y:16%).

Meanwhile, Gen Y shoppers who buy online are more likely to say they did
so because they

  • “get better information” online (Gen Y: 35%; Gen Z: 22%),
  • have “better delivery options” (Gen Y: 26%; Gen Z: 19%), and
  • “can buy other things at the same time” (Gen Y: 23%; Gen Z: 17%)

When it comes to making in-store purchases, Gen Z buyers are more likely
to say they are motivated by “get[ting] better information” in retail
outlets (25% versus 18%). Gen Y, on the other hand, is much more likely
to say they bought in store because shopping there is “easier” (42%
versus 29%).

“We are used to seeing younger shoppers lumped together in contrast with
their Baby Boomer parents,” said Joe Beier, EVP of GfK’s Shopper and
Retail Strategy team. “But there are some important differences between
the two ‘halves’ of the Millennial cohort; in certain areas, we see Gen
Y tending toward the ‘old-school’ ways of the Boomers – but in others,
they seem equal to their younger brothers and sisters in Gen Z.”

Based on interviews with 25,000 shoppers globally – including 1,000 in
the US – GfK’s FutureBuy® research defines shopping patterns in 17
product and service categories. To learn about purchasing greater access
to the FutureBuy database, contact Beier at

About GfK

GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information
that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000
market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing
data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global
insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100
countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns
big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their
competitive edge and enrich consumers’ experiences and choices.

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David Stanton
VP, MarComms, GfK
T 908-875-9844