How Millennials Shop

May 21, 2018

Do Millennials actually prefer to shop online? What role does technology play in their shopping behavior? And what are they willing to spend money on?

We will answer all these questions in this installment in our Millennial May-hem series. (If you need a primer on Millennials, you can read our Intro to Millennials article here.)

Online vs. In-Store

Despite their tech-savvy reputation, Millennials show a clear preference for shopping in brick-and-mortar stores over making online purchases. However, the Internet does play a clear role in Millennials’ shopping behavior.

82% of Millennials prefer brick and mortar stores to online shopping. Younger Millennials (20-23) are more likely to shop in physical stores while older Millennials (32-35) are more likely to shop on a mobile device.

Top reasons why Millennials prefer stores:

30 percent are looking for a bargain

18 percent have a specific purchase in mind

17 percent are researching

14 percent are simply browsing.

Millennials look for products online. 67% of Millennials browse for products online and then purchase in-store (webrooming) while 33% of Millennials search for products both online and offline and then purchase online.

Millennials also go online to hunt for coupons. 70% of Millennials search for coupons before making an online purchase and 52% of Millennials search for coupons online before making a purchase in-store. Most Millennials spend an average of 3 minutes searching for coupons online.

What impacts online purchases the most:

79% finding deals/saving money

67% free shipping

60% product reviews

37% fast/simple checkout

11% product personalization


Millennials’ reputation for tech-savviness is well-founded. They are not shy about using their smartphones or using social media platforms to facilitate their shopping.

72% of Millennials use their smartphones more often than a personal computer and 66% of Millennials use their smartphone to shop online. 68% of Millennials say they want to use a retailer’s app to make an in-store purchase.

57% Millennials follow brands on social media and Millennial females are 14% more likely to follow a brand than male Millennials.

The top reasons they follow retailers on social media:

56% of Millennials follow brands on social media for savings

36% to discover latest trends and new products

7% to participate in online community

How Millennials are using social media:


For keeping up with news; NOT for posting about their lives


For managing their personal brand


For casual conversations with friends

Shopping Behavior

Millennials; reputation for being careless with their money is a bit of a misnomer. 93% of Millennials stick to some kind of budget and 59% of Millennials say they will maintain their spending levels in 2018.

Food and drink eat up the biggest portion of Millennials’ spending. But those aren’t the only categories they are shopping.

What Millennials are spending the most of their money on in 2017:

60% food and drink

8% apparel

8% travel

7% electronics

7% home goods

7% entertainment

3% health/fitness/beauty

Top planned purchases for 2018:

42% food and drink

18% travel

14% home goods

8% apparel

7% electronics

6% entertainment

5% health/fitness/beauty

Whatever they are shopping for, don’t expect to have their undivided attention. 95% of Millennials are multi-tasking while shopping.

67% are watching TV

49% are waiting

43% are chatting

40% are working

23% are traveling

Service Tags: 
Social Media Management
Marketing Strategy