Millennials/Gen Y All Over Online Retail, Less so Trips to the Mall

Let me share a study from around a year ago that highlights shopping behavioral trends of Generation Y (Millennials defined as those 18-35/born from ~1978 to 1995). The study, put together by the Urban Land Institute, finds that 91% of Gen Y made online purchases over the last six months.

Meanwhile, some 45% spend more than an hour per day looking at retail-oriented websites! And you thought those guys were working.

​As a Millennial, I swear I’m working!

This is interesting by itself, but it’s all the more interesting in light of the study’s findings around where Gen Y lives and where they shop. Seems that some 90% of Gen Y visits stores like Walmart and Target as well as Costco, BJ’s, and Sam’s Club at least once a month, no matter where these Millennials live (e.g. from living rural to downtown). Nearly 70% of Gen Y visit these places 2 or more times a month. Take a gander at the data (added highlighting, mark-up, and logos per me — logo’s were pulled from the report’s cited definitions of these categories):


Great news for your discount stores.

By comparison, when it comes to shopping at malls, only about 64% of Gen Y frequents stores like Sears, Macy’s, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Dillard’s, and Bloomies. Worse, nearly 35% of Gen Y/Millennials never or rarely go to these department stores.

When it comes to how Gen Y prefers to shop — at least when it comes to buying clothes — the ULI study found that 20% of Gen Yers/MMs like to order online or research online and then go in-store (12%). And there’s a decent showing here for branded and department stores, too, so while the mall may not be an exciting place to visit in total there’s still interest from Gen Y in buying clothes at department stores:


What to do about Gen Y?

Seems the takeaway is fairly obvious: Millennials/Gen Yers like to shop online. They outright enjoy it and it’s now normal behavior (91% in the past six months!). That said, they aren’t as likely to frequent department stores with a whopping third rarely or never going to stores typically found in malls. While that could be scary for department stores, their way “in” to this younger generation is the Internet. Show’em your moves!

I own this minivan. And I’m a Millennial. Wha-what? Honda Odyssey FTW!​

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