How does age influence the shopping decision? Eight generational myths and four consumer profiles

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How does age influence the shopping decision? Eight generational myths and four consumer profiles

22 October 2018

Despite perception, age does not define the consumer profiling, according to Deloitte’s report "Millennials and beyond: Brand growth through a cross-generational approach to consumer profiling”. The study debunks eight myths about shopping habits that are considered specific to each generation, and outlines, instead, four consumer profiles based on attitudes.

"Nowadays we are exposed to technology, social media and other factors that influence change equally. This is why consumers’ attitude and behavior do not differ fundamentally from one generation to another. The Deloitte study shows that some beliefs about generations are wrong and that the generalization of stereotypes has to be avoided. The marketing strategies based on this kind of approach can limit companies’ profitability and revenue growth. For example, companies have invested heavily in marketing strategies dedicated to Millennials and Generation Z, risking to miss opportunities of a more focused approach to individual typology and not a particular generation", says Camelia Malahov, Director Direct Tax, Deloitte Romania.

Eight generational myths

#1. Generation Z primarily shops online - In fact, a mix of shopping both in physical and on-line shops, in favor of those in physical stores, is valid for all generations, including the generation Z.

#2. Only younger consumers consider themselves health-conscious and buy organic food - In fact, older people are also concerned about health.

#3. Value seekers are less affluent - All consumers, regardless of their profile or level of income, seek a balance between price and quality.

#4. Younger generations don’t care about brands - The results show that young people prefer brands because "they say something about them".

#5. Traditional advertising channels hold little appeal to younger generations, social media is the best way to reach them - As with brands, traditional media remain popular to attract younger consumers.

# 6. Older generations do not use social media - The study shows that most consumers have at least once per day an exposure to at least one social media platform.

# 7. Only older generations use coupons and discounts - Approximately seven out of ten consumers enjoy the amounts they can save by using coupons or loyalty cards.

# 8. Innovation and brand growth are fueled only by younger generations - People with longer experience, with greater purchasing power have the ability to contribute to brand growth in the immediate future.

Four consumer profiles according to attitudes

Instead, the study identifies four consumer profiles according to purchasing attitudes:

  • Responsible Go Getters: a segment mainly formed by Millennials and Generation X. Responsible, balanced purchasing attitudes, interested in innovation and technology. It is the main category that marketing departments should consider.
  • Discerning achievers: a segment dominated by Baby Boomers and Generation X. They pay attention to price, focus on health and product ingredients, environmental concerns, ecological or organic products, and are receptive to online. They prefer quality to price. This is the second category that marketing departments need to target because they have the highest revenues.
  • Aspirational: mostly the adult Generation Z at the beginning of the career, very enthusiastic, eager to try innovations and technology. They consider themselves sophisticated and focus on new products. They shop online and search for environmentally friendly, organic products, but have low incomes.
  • Pragmatists: mostly Generation X. Marked by the experience of the 2009 crisis, they are very conservative and price-conscious, less oriented to new, technological products.

Segmentation was made by applying an advanced statistical analysis (cluster analysis) to 75 consumer behavioral responses, preferences to media and attitudes towards innovation, brand, comfort, health and product purchasing technology. More than 3,000 people from the United States of America aged 18 to 70 attended the study, respecting demographical criteria.

Deloitte provides worldwide audit, consulting, legal, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax and related services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. Deloitte serves four out of five Fortune Global 500 companies through a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries and territories bringing world-class capabilities, insights, and high-quality service to address clients' most complex business challenges. Deloitte's goal is to make an impact that matters through its approximately 286,000 professionals.

Deloitte Romania is one of the leading professional services organizations in the country providing, in cooperation with Reff & Associates, services in audit, tax, legal, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, business processes and technology services and other related services with more than 1,200 professionals.

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