Will millennial shopping habits affect future behaviours?


Millennials are attributed to influencing everything from the resurgence of nineties clothes to the flourishing trend of flat whites and artisan bread. Another area in which they are known for making a huge impact is in the shopping or retail industry.

This generation has swayed in this sector, not only in terms of the items that are being sold but also on where, when and how they are sold, at least according to e-commerce worldwide. It’s a fair statement to make though, as all evidence would suggest that this is the group of people who are earning the majority of money in different sectors all across the world. As a result, they have more disposable income to spend in the shopping/retail sector. Not only this, but millennials constitute the vast amount of people who own their own businesses or start-ups, which includes clothing and retail businesses. As we are living in a digital economy, most of these millennials focus their businesses in the digital sphere. In this way, it’s impossible for millennials not to have a significant influence on the digital retail sector because they are both consumers and transformers in this industry.

E-commerce worldwide says “tech-savvy millennials are 2.5 times more likely to be early adopters [to technology] than older generations”, however this doesn’t mean that they are the only people adapting to technological changes in the retail industry. Although millennials tend to be the first group of people to attracted to a trend, they are being closely followed by people who are both younger and older than they are.

Using social networks as an example, most of these were intended to be used by young people in colleges or schools and now they are heavily adopted by the baby-boomer generation and beyond. Businesses have a large hand in the information that is shared on channels like Facebook too and, as we mentioned, many business owners and people with startups are part of the millennial generation.

Essentially the preferences and behaviours of millennials soon manifest themselves to older generations, but does this mean that the younger generation’s shopping habits will reflect on people in the future? E-commerce certainly seems to think so and there is evidence to suggest that the habits of millennials now are forecasting the manner in which people will shop in the future.

But what are attributes that millennials have that are responsible for their influence?

Changing tastes

According to e-commerce, worldwide millennials are much more debit-conscious that their previous generations. In fact, nearly 70 per cent of people in this age group tend to use debit cards over credit cards.

Similarly, millennials will be much more secure in paying for a transaction through a retailer’s app but this makes sense, as they have and are continuing to grow up in a digital world. Paperless payments are also more popular with millennials, with 44 per cent stating they prefer to pay over their phones than with cash.


Millennials are also able to have a completely personalised shopping experience thanks to mobile and paperless tech. To gauge the habits of future shoppers, we only have to look at the increasing habits of millennials now to know that all people in the next few years will want to shop and pay as and when they want.


Many retail businesses are created now that don’t have a physical storefront, as they would have done in times past.

The reality is that you don’t need to have a physical space to sell products to a target audience, all you really need is a computer and some marketing knowledge. Taking the likes of Etsy as an example, anyone can create something to sell on this website, all you need is an idea and a profile and that’s about it.

If you want to create your own completely unique business, you can set up a website and use that as your digital storefront. As time marches on and more people turn to the web for their shopping needs, it’s safe to say that opening up a physical store will be an added accessory rather than a necessity for people’s retail businesses to succeed.


Peak times of year, such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s and Father’s Day also have an influence on the shopping habit of the millennial. Online store and sellers have become attune to the fact that more people shop online for big holidays and expect rush orders, so this is a big influence on the importance and efficiency of the online retail market.