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Millennials Carry Shopping Habits into Parenthood

By Paul Bubny

Even as Millennials follow their parents’ examples and start families, they’re not emulating Mom and Dad when it comes to shopping habits. A study from the National Retail Federation (NRF) finds that the generation born between 1981 and 1994 differs both in lifestyle and spending patterns from previous generations of parents.

“The Millennial generation has at turns confounded, inspired and challenged researchers and analysts with their spending habits,” said Katherine Cullen, director of retail and consumer insights at NRF. “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.”

About 40% of Millennials hold a graduate degree, or more than twice the 19% rate of other parents. Sixty-nine percent of Millennial respondents to an NRF survey earn more than the national median income of $59,000 a year, compared with 53% of other parents.

Millennials also hold a positive outlook on their futures: NRF found that the generation’s consumer confidence has risen by more than 20 percentage points since 2008, while one-third believe their financial situation has improved over the last year. And 80% of Millennials with children are in their 30s.

Not surprisingly, Millennials carry their reliance on mobile devices into parenthood. Seventy-eight percent of the Millennial parents surveyed use their phones to research products, compared with 58% of other parents. Similar percentages use their smartphones to check prices, place an order or follow up with a review, again at higher rates than those of prior generations.

Since Millennial parents are often in a hurry, 86% have used same-day shipping, compared with just 67% of parents from other generations. And, they’re willing to pay for convenience: just 53% expect free shipping on small orders under $50, compared with 66% of other parents. They’re also twice as likely to use subscription services.

“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.”


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Inside The Story

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About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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