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Millennials and Online Shopping

Current Trends Among Millennials and Online Shopping

Born to a unique world of quickly-evolving technology, millennials (characterized as those aged 18 to 34, according to Social Lens Research) have defined a new generation that is expected to comprise one-third of the adult population within the next five years. Raised in an unstable financial market and graduating with expensive, loan-covered degrees in a slowly recovering job market, this group is typically tech-savvy and highly connected on mobile devices and social media. Not only are they demanding and driven, they dominate the retail market and are completely changing the game of eCommerce.

Millennials may only comprise 26% of the population, but they contribute to approximately 35% of retail spending. As one of the key age demographics for retail spending, they are a massively important target for merchants.

When it comes to digital commerce specifically, millennials spend more money than any other age group, forming an enormous piece of the eCommerce market. The average consumer aged 18 to 34 invests $2,000 per year on digital retail sites. It’s projected that, in any given six month period, more than half of shoppers who make an online purchase will be millennials.

Millennials may shop online more than any other age demographic, but what channels do they use when buying online? Since last year, there’s been a 32% upswing in mobile sales (mCommerce), with millennials thumbing through websites for the perfect leather watch or shade of eyeshadow. This has become normality for them, transforming shopping habits from the mall to the palm of their hand. More than any other generation, they prefer to use multiple devices and channels throughout their shopping experience, from researching a product to reading reviews, and finally clicking the purchase button (hopefully).

Regarding mobile, research has shown that smartphones are the most-used shopping device of them all, which can be largely attributed to convenience, brand promotion on social media, and brand apps available for downloading. 79% of millennials said mobile devices introduced them to a new brand or product and 54% said shopping apps were streamlined and easier to use than online sites.

Despite the surge in mCommerce, desktop computers are still king when it comes to purchasing. A recent Annalect survey of US smartphone users within the millennial demographic said that, though many respondents used their phones to shop, 60% used their computer to make the actual purchase. This trend seems predominantly due to the ease of the checkout process on a desktop computer versus a phone or tablet. It’s generally easier to navigate a check-out page with a mouse and type a sixteen digit credit card number on a physical keyboard than a small touch-screen. In a poll by LocoSpace and Social Lens Research, 35% of respondents said they would like to buy products on their phone if the process was easier.

In summary, there seems to be a growing demand and wide open market for a streamlined mobile process to capture this unique consumer demographic. Perhaps a one-tap payment process or the implementation of finger-print scanners will completely reconfigure the mobile buying process, making it a virtually unrecognizable process by this time next year. What do you think the breakthrough will be?

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