More millennial-age consumers visit multiple stores in search of deals than their baby boomer elders do, according to research from consumer engagement firm First Insight. Some 71% of millennials frequent a variety of stores, compared to 57% of baby boomers, according to a report emailed to Retail Dive.
While most millennials do go online to search for deals (82%), the study found that same shopping behavior within both generational groups, as more baby boomers (65%), especially those with higher incomes, are also looking online for the best price rather than in-store, First Insight said.
Most millennials (92%) this holiday season plan to spend money in a physical store, according to other research from the International Council of Shopping Centers, which is forecasting a 3.8% year-over-year growth in retail sales for the season. On average, they plan to spend $554.40 on holiday gifts and related items, according to an ICSC report emailed to Retail Dive.
The idea that e-commerce is a young consumer’s game is an outdated assumption, according to First Insight CEO/founder Greg Petro. "The behavior between these generations is evolving, and to benefit, retailers must recalibrate their approach to marketing, inventory and pricing to attract deal-seekers who may have been overlooked based on outdated perceptions," he said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive.
In addition to generational differences, the research found disparities by region in the U.S., with the Northeast hosting the greatest shift. In that region, 25% more millennials (73%) visit multiple stores to find deals than baby boomers (48%), who prefer going online. West Coast millennials search online and in-store almost equally, while in the Midwest more baby boomers go online than to stores. Southerners are more traditional, with more baby boomers sticking to stores than elsewhere, according to First Insight.
By far most (96%) of shoppers plan to make a purchase from a retailer who has both a physical and an online presence, with only slightly fewer (91%) shoppers buying at physical locations, according to the ICSC. Holiday shoppers will take advantage of omnichannel retailers, with 40% of them buying online and picking up in-store. Those services could be a real boon this year, considering that 81% of those plan to make additional purchases when collecting their items, the ICSC found.
"Our annual Holiday Shopping Intentions findings demonstrate that consumers are very optimistic this holiday season and that physical retail remains a cornerstone of the holiday season," ICSC President and CEO Tom McGee told Retail Dive in an email. "The more agile retailers are in meeting consumers’ demands for the seamless convergence of physical and digital shopping, the more success they will see."
The money is in online shopping, at least for parts of the journey — even for millennials, First Insight said. But the money will be tamped down by a focused hunt on getting deals, especially for younger consumers. More than any other age group, millennials plan to take advantage of discounts on Black Friday (57%), the ICSC found.