The millennial generation - shopping habits and payment trends

01/06/2021 New Industry news

A lot has been written about the millennial generation, those who came of age as the 21st century - the new millennium - began. Millennials are the most populated generation in modern history, describing typically those born between 1981 and 1996. Often also referred to as Generation Y, millennials make up the largest part of the labour force and population - and therefore, have more spending power than any other generation.

Having witnessed the arrival and development of technology and online media, millennials have developed specific approaches to shopping that sets them apart from both older generations and the younger digital native generation. 

Meet the millennials

With most of them being at the start or in the middle of their career, they are at a stage of life where they are making a lot of purchases, for example regarding interior and technology. 

Millennials grew up in an age when most technology and social media - such as Google, Facebook and Amazon - developed. Consequently, they are often described as more progressive, far-thinking and eager to adjust to new trends, systems and devices than earlier generations. Unlike the younger Generation Z however, they are not complete digital natives which makes them more aware of - and to some extent more excited about -  these technologies. This in turn results in some behaviors and beliefs that are typical for the millennial generation, especially when it comes to shopping.

Studies have found that millennials on average spend about one hour a day on ecommerce websites; almost half of them even indicate that they would exclusively buy online if they could. 

What do millennials want?

The main characteristics describing millennials approach to shopping are

  1. They use web devices in nearly every aspect of their lives. For social media, research or shopping. 
  2. Convenience is key. Fast deliveries and easy returns are more important than low prices. 
  3. Shopping is a social experience. They want to share it with family and friends and are highly influenced by user-generated content and social media. 

Millennials shop via various channels

Several studies show that millennials use web devices in nearly every aspect of their lives and shopping is no exception. Seamless omnichannel shopping experiences are essential for millennials. They are most likely to make use of every avenue of shopping available, combining stores, mobile and online shopping in ways that work best for them. In fact, 68% of millennials indicate that that convenience of shopping via various channels and devices is of major importance for their online shopping experience. Being used to big players like Amazon, millennials expect easy and frictionless checkouts.

Consequently, besides exploring various channels, make sure that your website is optimized for smartphone usage, for example by using Progressive Web Apps. Ensure that your website loads quickly and the purchase experience is seamless across all devices including different screen sizes and make it possible for your customers to transition effortlessly from smartphone to laptop to local store and back.

Convenience is key

Existing research on the shopping behaviour of millennials has shown that convenience is most important for them. While especially for younger generations prices and free shipping options are crucial factors, convenient and fast deliveries win millennials: 45% indicate that they highly prefer same day deliveries. Millennials see online shopping more as a convenient alternative to in-store shopping than a different concept - they are still demanding the same advantages and want their purchases just as immediately as they could get them from a store.

Social experience

One of the main characteristics of millennials is that they enjoy shopping and see it as a fun activity to recharge from work and stress that they want to share with friends and family.

Being known as the “always connected” generation, millennials are constantly on their phone and use various social networks. 68% of millennials indicate that they are highly influenced by social media, 84% state that user generated content has influences on their purchases and 90% actively seek customer reviews.

Unlike the younger Generation Z however, millennials tend to not buy directly from social media. Still, social networks are often the first step in developing brand awareness and are generally their preferred way to interact with brands and shops.

They want to do something good

More than any other generation, millennials are concerned with the values of a business. Driven by the desire to make a difference and help to build a better world, millennials want to do something good with their purchases. A growing percentage of millennials indicate to have less trust in bigger enterprises and aim to support smaller and local businesses. Generally speaking, they will be more loyal to brands who are involved in topics like sustainability and social equality.

Keeping their tendency to share their shopping experiences via social networks in mind, sending strong and consistent messages and leveraging the power of user generated content and  word-of-mouth is extremely helpful to reach millennials.

Authentic marketing

Millennials prefer down-to-earth marketing and increasingly demand authenticity from brands. Studies have shown that 84% of millennials indicate that they do not like advertising. Therefore, nontraditional marketing strategies that provide them a sense of community are the way to go. They respond best to authentic content-based marketing, such as appeals from influencers and personalities they listen to.

Payment trends

Millennials dominantly use debit cards, about half of them indicate a debit card payment method as their preferred option. 

Millennials are also open to new payment methods, such as digital wallets - almost 40% indicate that they are using this method at least a few times a month. Especially younger millennials are heavy users of digital wallets, 16% using it several times a week. 

Multisafepay offers a mix of over 30 payment methods, including several options that are particularly popular amongst millennials.

With 20 years of experience in ecommerce and a whole range of payment methods, solutions and tools, MultiSafepay can help you to adapt to the demands of this consumer generation.


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