Who is Buying Online, What are They Buying and How Can You Reach Them?

The COVID 19 pandemic had an enormous influence on eCommerce and skyrocketed online sales in 2020. So, who is buying online? The simple answer is basically everyone, but certain demographic groups buy online far more often than others.

Pew Research states that in 2019, “Millennials surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation.”

According to Statista, Millennials aged 25 to 34 years are the largest group of digital buyers in the United States. As of February 2020, this group accounted for 20.2 percent of digital buyers in the United States. The second-largest online buyer audience were 35- to 44-year-olds, who accounted for 17.2 percent of U.S. digital buyers.

While it is interesting that the bulk of the eCommerce buyers fall into the Millennial or Baby Boomer demographic, it is also interesting to know why they choose to buy online, what they buy, and how you can get your product in front of them.

Why They Buy Online

Convenience is cited as one of the primary reasons for buying online regardless of demographic but what they buy differs when consumer preferences are added into the mix.

A 2019 Statista report states that both groups buy groceries online with a whopping 45% of Millennials followed by 27% of Baby Boomers.  It is safe to assume that the COVID 19 pandemic of 2020 most likely increased those percentages.

Growing up in the era of social media and smart phones has influenced Millennials, who make 54% of their purchases online which translates to $600 billion per year in US online sales.

What They Buy

Millennials buy almost everything online including clothing, electronics, food, transportation, groceries, and social activities.  More than two-thirds of Millennials prefer to shop online instead of in a physical store and 8 out of 10 will not buy anything without first reading a review.  Millennials are also savvy shoppers; with 12% reporting they always look for an online coupon and 21% say they look for coupons very often.  The environment and social causes rank high with many millennials with as many as 67% reporting they are more likely to buy a product that supports a social cause.

Baby Boomers are staying in the workforce longer giving them more disposable income. Like Millennials, Boomers buy clothing, electronics, and food online.  They make up 37% of the pet products market and spend 3.4% more on health-related products than their parents did.  Many are socially conscious and will pay more for sustainable products.

How Can You Reach Them?

The short answer is that you can reach both groups on social media.  You are more likely to reach Baby Boomers on Facebook and you will find more Millennials on Instagram, Tik Tok, and Snapchat.

With organic reach at an all time low on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, paid ads on social platforms provide a reliable means of getting in front of the right audience.

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