U.S. Gen Z & millennials: consumer goods and shopping behavior - statistics & facts
The millennial generation, also known as Generation Y, comprises people born between 1981 and 1996, and is followed by Generation Z, which includes individuals born 1997 to 2012. Each of these generations constituted just over a fifth of the entire United States in 2022, with millennials accounting for the highest population share that year. While millennials had been the center of companies’ attention for several years, many businesses and retail industry professionals across the globe now have a vested interest in the distinct shopping behavior of "zoomers", i.e., members of Generation Z.
Gen Z: the new kids on the block
Consumers of the Z Generation are some of the most tech-savvy consumers yet, with many shopping online just as often as they do offline. Not only that, a considerable share of them make use of company websites and social media apps for the purchase of consumer goods and services. According to a survey conducted in the summer of 2022, some of the most highly regarded brands among Gen Z consumers included big names, such as Amazon, Netflix, and Doritos. That year, the generation’s favorite brand was YouTube.
Compared to Gen Z, millennials typically spend more money, which comes to no surprise, since they are older, more likely to be employed, and typically less reliant on their parents or guardians. For 2022's holiday shopping season, for example, millennials planned to spend an average of over 1,800 U.S. dollars, while Gen Z consumers intended to spend approximately 700 U.S. dollars less per capita.
In what ways are Y and Z similar?
At times, millennials and zoomers in the United States exhibit distinct behavioral traits, but there are cases in which the generations are similarly minded. For instance, the majority of zoomers and millennials have gotten accustomed to making quick purchases on their smartphone. In fact, when looking for products (e.g., clothing), Gen Z and millennial shoppers in the States are also commonly influenced by many of the same factors, such as social media advertising, positive product reviews, and the opinions of family members. More recently, approximately the same share of millennials and Gen Z shoppers (between 20 and 25 percent) were concerned they would not be able to afford living day to day due to global financial concerns, such as the impact of inflation.
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Research expert covering shopping behavior, sports and leisure retail, and the subscriptions and direct selling industry