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Retail PR mythbusters: More Millennials dealhunt in-store than Boomers

by | Sep 27, 2017 | Public Relations

Millennials have upended many retail PR strategies over the last few years, and now it looks like they have debunked another myth—one that says younger people shop online more than older generations. New research from retail tech firm First Insight finds that 71 percent of Millennials are visiting multiple stores to find the best deals, compared to 57 percent of Baby Boomers.

While Millennials are still going online to search for deals (82 percent), the study points to shifting shopping behavior within both generational groups, as more Boomers (65 percent) are searching online for the best price than in-store.

“The retail industry has been operating on the outdated assumption that Boomers are shopping for deals primarily in-store and Millennials are searching for deals mostly online,” said Greg Petro, CEO and founder of First Insight, in a news release. “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their approach to marketing, inventory and pricing to attract deal-seekers who may have been overlooked based on outdated perceptions.”

Retail PR mythbusters: More Millennials dealhunt in-store than Boomers

Key findings from the research:

Northeast seeing greatest generational shifts in discount shopping behavior

In the Northeast, twenty-five percent more Millennials are visiting multiple stores to find deals (73 percent) than Baby Boomers (48 percent) who prefer going online to look for deals. Eleven percent more Baby Boomers responded they search online more (59 percent).

West Coast Millennials are searching for deals online and in-store almost equally

In the West, Millennial respondents are almost as inclined to look in-store for deals as they are to look online (72 percent versus 76 percent). Baby Boomers are also showing a migration to online in this region, with 66 percent of those surveyed searching online, versus only 59 percent in-store.

Midwest showing strongest shift in Boomers searching for deals online

In the Midwest, the migration of Baby Boomers searching for deals online is the most pronounced, with 14 percent more Baby Boomers looking online for deals over in-store (68 percent versus 54 percent). While a comparatively low sixty-six percent of Millennials are visiting multiple stores when compared to other regions, the percentage is still 12 percent higher than Baby Boomers.

The South shows Baby Boomers moving online, but still looking for deals in-store

Baby Boomers are visiting multiple stores and searching online almost equally in the southern region of the United States (63 percent versus 67 percent, respectively). However, stores should still be ready for the discount-searching Millennial as eight percent more (71 percent) are visiting multiple stores looking for deals than Baby Boomers.

Affluent consumers more likely to go online looking for deals, particularly Baby Boomers

While annual income appeared to be less impactful on Millennial behavior, Baby Boomers that make $100,000 or more a year are 17 percent more inclined to search online for deals than in-store (77 percent versus 60 percent). For Baby Boomers making less, the difference was far less significant, with only six percent more inclined to look online versus in-store (62 percent versus 56 percent).

The findings are based on a targeted sample of 750 respondents from three distinct demographics Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials in the United States. The survey was fielded in March 2017 and was completed through proprietary sample sources amongst panelists who participated in online surveys.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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