5 Stats on Millennial Buying Habits

Millennials – the first truly digital generation – aren’t kids anymore. Ranging in age from 18 to 34, many of the generation that has officially taken over the baby boomers in size (75.4 million) have settled down with careers, homes, and kids of their own. Along with these changes comes greater spending power. Accenture estimates millennials spend $600 billion a year.

That’s a figure that has retailers doing a double-take. But, while millennials present a huge market opportunity, they’re also an enigma. As savvy digital users with high expectations of brands and low regard for advertising, this generation requires different tactics from retailers who seek to reach them.

For a taste, take a look at the following stats that illustrate millennials’ digital consumption behaviors:

1 – Seventy-three percent of millennials report that they make purchases directly on their smartphones.
(Source:  BazaarVoice

Are you surprised? Probably not. But, it is likely that you’re not as prepared for a mobile-first world as you’d like to be. To succeed in 2016 and beyond, retailers will need to offer a consistent, responsive brand experience across desktop, mobile, and tablets. Omni-channel campaigns with touchpoints across devices will be the next step in engaging a generation that jumps between platforms with ease.

2 – Ninety-eight percent of millennials are more likely to engage with a friend’s post over a brand post. (Source: Social Chorus

When looking for advice on what to purchase, a brand’s ad isn’t the first place they go. Now, millennials seek opinions from friends, families, or even strangers. Brands will need to bridge the trust gap with engaging, relevant content and a special emphasis on user-generated content.

Image found at Unsplash

3 – Eighty-four percent of millennials report that user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy.
(Source: BazaarVoice

UGC – anything from an image collected during a photo contest to a customer product review – is an essential aspect of any content strategy. Allowing millennials to speak for the brand (versus being spoken to by it) will open up channels of communication and, ultimately, generate trust.

4 – One-third of millennial consumers say they have more fun browsing for items than actually purchasing them. (Source: The Intelligence Group

Flipping through products on an app is pretty entertaining, but actually buying them? Not as much. Research shows us that millennials are more into browsing than buying. That puts the onus on retailers to move them down the path to purchase. Strategies such as targeted Facebook advertising and on-site social curation tools can give the push this group needs to close the sale.

5 – Sixty-four percent of millennials say companies should offer more ways to share their opinions online.
(Source:  BazaarVoice

Since millennials were young, they’ve had access to interactive forms of entertainment and education. They’re used to being heard. That expectation extends to brands. Providing more ways for your fans to express themselves – through social contests, user-generated content, or customer care channels – will help you build relationships with this vocal group.


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Jaime Netzer is Spredfast's Senior Content Marketing Manager, leading content operations. A Lawrence, Kansas native, she traded seasons for breakfast tacos seven years ago and hasn't looked back since. Also a fiction writer and journalist, Jaime tweets semi-regularly and reads constantly.