Millennials Shopping Habits=MGR Blog

It’s no secret that eCommerce keeps growing both in sales volume and transaction value year after year.  One of the key factors for this growth is the generational shift combined with the growth of eCommerce solutions over the past decade.  When it comes to shopping online, millennials are one of the most sought after generations by businesses that have a significant online presence.  Let’s take a quick look at why this particular demographic group is so influential in today’s eCommerce marketing decisions.

Millennials and Social Media

Among millennials, usually considered to be the age group between 18 and 38, social media is a major influence on product discovery and purchasing decisions: 39.8% of millennials rank social sources (social media, family, friends) in their top three channels for ideas on products to buy.1 It’s not surprising: this is a generation that grew up watching YouTube videos of other kids testing out new toys (“unboxing” videos). Peer recommendations and social influence carry a lot of weight with them.

Millennials and Mobile Devices

Not surprisingly, according to a recent study, 46% of young millennials (ages 18-23) and 67% of older millennials (ages 24-38) say they prefer to shop on a smartphone or tablet, compared to an average of 42% across all age groups.2 In other words, these younger generation of shoppers are more willing than the average American to make purchases on a mobile device.  However, we still see many businesses, especially small ones, that are barely taking advantage of this channel. The ones that offer millennials an intuitive way to shop and pay online are the ones that see a significant increase in their conversions and revenues.

Millennials and Influencer Marketing

Just as millennials rely on social media channels for a large portion of their purchasing decisions, they also like to listen to each other on social channels.  When it comes to trusted sources, millennials consider their families (75%) and friends (72%) as the biggest influences on their own shopping habits and purchase decisions much more so than other celebrities (33%).3 This group’s social influence is significant enough that recommendations can trigger a lot of brand interest. 

Millennials and Online Payments

Millennials are the first generation to fully embrace online payments, especially, mobile payments via payment platforms such as PayPal, Venmo, Zelle and others. Coincidentally, these mobile payment apps have also succeeded in combining eCommerce with social influence and shareability. For example, Venmo is a mobile payments platform similar to PayPal, but it is unique in that it allows users to like and share their payments and purchases in a social feed. It’s a social network built around peer-to-peer and cost-splitting transactions.

As more and more people started using Venmo, a funny thing happened: the core Venmo users, mostly millennials, started using the “What’s it for?” memo to share details and updates when sending or requesting payments. What began as ledger became a social feed.

The ultimate goal for all online merchants should be seamless shopping on mobile. Venmo was developed specifically for mobile platforms, so the customer experience was optimized for mobile from the beginning. PayPal also has developed its own Smart Payment Buttons and of course, Amazon, the mother of all eCommerce platforms, also offers its own version via “Pay with Amazon” buttons. 

When businesses are able to offer these or other similar payment options to their customers, they automatically open their doors to the millions of millennials who shop on their mobile devices, share their experiences with their friends via social media and influence their friends and family by sharing their own shopping experience. 

Thank you for reading.  Until next time, this is Manuel Gil del Real (MGR)

 1Source: eMarketer, Where do Millennials look for ideas on products to buy? September 2018.

2Source: eMarketer, Which Device Do US Digital Buyers Most Prefer to Make Digital Purchases? September 2018. 

3Source: eMarketer, Sources of Social Posts/Reviews that Would Influence US Millennial Social Media Users’ Purchase Decisions, October 2017 (% of respondents).

Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash