How Millennial Parents Shop Differently Than Other Generations

Now that millennials are becoming parents, their way of shopping for their families varies wildly from their parents. The phone is practically the command center for this generation born between 1981 and 1994.

In a report released by the National Retail Federation in Washington, D.C., phones are at the center of millennials’ shopping universe with 78 percent saying they use their phones to research products compared to 58 percent of other parents. Another 75 percent use their phone to check prices compared with 58 percent of other parents and 71 percent use their phones to pay at check out.

“The millennial generation has at turns confounded, inspired and challenged researchers and analysts with their spending habits,” said Katherine Cullen, the NRF’s director of retail and consumer insights. “As many millennials move into parenthood, we are beginning to see how their expectations and shopping preferences compare with those of previous generations. Whether it’s using a subscription service to make sure diapers don’t run out or going online to research the best crib or car seat, millennials shop differently than other parents.”

Millennials are parents to 50 percent of today’s children, and they are often in a hurry, with 86 percent having used same-day shipping compared with just 67 percent of parents from other generations. They are also willing to pay for convenience. Only 53 percent expect free shipping on small orders under $50 compared with 66 percent of other parents. Subscription services, which can supply automatic refills and discounted prices on items, are used by 40 percent of millennials compared with 18 percent of other parents.

Millennials are also better educated than other parents. According to the report, 40 percent have a graduate degree, which is twice as many as the 19 percent in other generations. And 69 percent of the respondents earned more than the national median income of $59,000 a year, compared with 53 percent of other parents.

Importance of where they shop is also a key factor in millennials’ lives. Forty-four percent said they only shop at brands that reflect their social or political values, a factor cited by only 23 percent of parents from other generations.

“To keep parents of any generation happy, brands and retailers must deliver on both price and quality,” Cullen said. “But millennials are very concerned about good customer services and are twice as likely to back out of a purchase for lack of it. For millennials, service ranks ahead of convenience, selection and loyalty programs.”