Omnichannel shoppers are active participants in many activities, from buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) to buying for same-day delivery. They favor in-store and curbside pickups and appreciate knowing what’s available before they venture out to the store. Same-day delivery has appeal among this audience.
But what is also important is that shopper behavior varies by age, as our Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights survey of 1,069 online shoppers in February 2023 reveals. It illustrates where the greatest behavior differences exist among age groups and what they mean for retailers. A look at how some of our research findings played out should be insightful for understanding how best to serve your customer base.
The 30-39 segment is most aggressive in online activity. One such example is their interest in checking for product availability at a nearby store. Age breakouts are as follows:
- 18-29 (72%)
- 30-39 (75%)
- 40-54 (73%)
This contrasts with those 55-64 (57%) and 65+ (55%).
In terms of age gap – where we look at the difference between the lowest and highest scores among age groups – curbside pickup has the largest gap at 26%. In-store pickup at 20% follows close behind. The 20% gap for picking up online orders in store is also a testament to these impressive numbers.
Post-COVID omnichannel transaction volume was “more” for the young
When it came to omnichannel transactions in 2022 vs. pre-COVID, 79% of shoppers 18-29 and 74% of those 30-39 had completed “more” of these transactions. Meanwhile, just over half of those 55+ made the same level of transactions.
The number of transactions was higher
To take it one step further, younger shoppers more frequently made 11+ omnichannel transactions in the past six months. 40% of those 18-29 were high-volume buyers, as were 37% of those 30-54.
Older segments 55-64 saw 25% in this volume range, which was similar to those 65+, where 24% were at a comparable rate.
They purchased across a wider range of categories
Our research suggests that younger shoppers complete purchases at more of the researched stores and categories we reviewed. This snapshot finds the only exception was hardware/home improvement, which older shoppers favored. Beyond that category, the biggest gaps relative to age were among Target buyers (35%) and the health and beauty segment (25%).
Curbside and BOPIS ratings are strong
Omnichannel buyers were asked to rate their purchases on a 1-10 scale where 10 is excellent. Though the age gap is exactly the same, when looking at 7-10 scores, younger shoppers give higher scores to curbside. Older shoppers give BOPIS better performance numbers.
To facilitate omnichannel ordering, the app is in favor
We know from this research that 66% of omnichannel shoppers frequently/exclusively use the mobile app for placing and picking up orders.
Omnichannel shoppers from ages 18-54 are more likely to use the app. Those 30-39 are the biggest users (75%) while ages 18-29 (at 70%) are close behind. Those 40-53 follow at 69%. My personal experiences with the app are positive, and it makes me always favor that option. More people are likely to embrace the apps as they continue to improve over time.
Ease drives app usage for younger omnichannel shoppers
Communication emanating from the app is more desirable among older audiences, our data shows. That includes being notified that orders are ready and having the ability to receive texts.
Younger shoppers appreciate the app’s user experience from a shopping perspective and being able to quickly find stores with in-stock products. Additionally, storing phone and vehicle information along with gift cards and coupons has greater appeal among younger segments.
Mobile activities are mainstream for younger shoppers
When it comes to mobile activities that were part of shopping behavior over the past six months, shoppers 30-39 had the highest penetration in six distinct mobile areas. Meanwhile, those 65+ consistently had the lowest.
- Buy a product: 51%
- Locate product in a store: 42%
- Facilitate in-store or curbside pickup: 34%
- Use barcode scanning in a store to get more product information: 32%
- Self-checkout in retail store: 26%
- Make a purchase on a phone while in a store: 23%
Locating product in a store had the biggest gap at 23%. From there, using a mobile app to buy a product while in a store or facilitate the omnichannel pickup both followed at 22%.
Younger shoppers’ omnichannel volume will grow, though the pace may lag behind older counterparts.
Older shoppers are in catch-up mode as they were likely more cautious when it came to omnichannel. They look to be aggressive in 2023 with their omnichannel transactions. 79% of those 55-64 and 76% of those 65+ intend to place more in-store and/or curbside pickups in 2023.
Younger shopper numbers came in at 41% for those 18-29 and 50% for the 30-39 segment. It’s not largely an expression of overall interest, but there is only so much upside on their purchasing potential.
What does age really mean for retail?
All customers are important, but there is an interesting younger segment that has embraced omnichannel and supporting mobile activities. These shoppers have shown time and again that they are willing to test new innovations in the omnichannel world. I’m inclined to conclude that if nurtured, these activities will be important for a long time to come.
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