We’re all individuals, right? Yes, to an extent. While we’re all unique, we can all demonstrate tendencies and behaviours that characterise a particular group. Of these groupings, age is one of the most significant determinants of behaviour, influencing our actions in all manner of applications.
One of the most interesting of these is the way we shop. Different generations shop differently. Let’s look at each in turn. Most of the information here is from US studies, but the analysis holds up for UK markets.
It will probably come as little surprise that Boomers show the most preference for bricks and mortar shops over online shopping.
Where do Boomers tend to find out about products? TV is an overwhelmingly popular resource, with ads and review programmes giving the Boomer audience the majority of its product information.
Daytime TV is an example of a hugely addressable media in terms of knowing who’s likely to be watching at a particular time, and showing ads that will chime with this group. This is an area of tremendous interest, with more precise targeting available than ever before.
Social media’s not such a big deal for Boomers, falling way behind the internet in general as a much-used data source for the prospective senior buyer.
Generation X (35-54)
This group reportedly prefers shopping in actual shops, but in fact more of their shopping is carried out online than over the counter.
Generation Xers find out about products online, just through regular internet searches as well as via social media. The overwhelming majority of this is carried out via phone.
Just slightly behind the internet and social media is TV advertising, which plays a very significant part in keeping Generation Xers primed regarding new products and ways to purchase them.
An interesting finding with Generation X shoppers is that they don’t mind if an ad is just an ad. In other words, they don’t ask that it be made into clever interactive content or that it be in some way personalised to them.
Social media is the Millenial’s primary resource for discovering new products. They are hugely influenced by the thoughts and edicts of influencers.
They also tend to use virtual shops that are built on social media platforms, rather than the physical shop preferred by their elders. They are in fact the group most likely to buy their groceries online (over 50% in 2022).
With this group, TV advertising is a key influencer albeit just behind social media and music streaming ads.
Generation Z (18-24)
Generation Z members do visit shops but they tend to make most of their purchases online.
This group’s shopping intentions are informed most of all by short form video marketing on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok (see the 5.4 million views given to #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt). Influencers occupy an exalted position in terms of trust, so they hold tremendous sway when it comes to recommending products.
Although TV advertising rates behind social media, it still carries some impact with this age group.
While social media and streaming are inarguably big-hitters in the world of product dissemination, TV advertising still has a massive part to play, and with better targeting capacity now becoming available, it represents an eminently customisable way to reach different generations of shoppers.