Purchasing Habits of Generations X and Y Differ Widely

Purchasing Habits of Generations X and Y Differ Widely

Nov 28, 2011

Nelson Barber, associate professor of hospitality management at UNH, has investigated the purchasing habits of the 116 million consumers in Generations X and Y and found that they take significantly different approaches to purchasing based on their social and cultural traits.

Specifically, Barber looked at the consumer influences of parents, peers, mass media, and the Internet on Generations X (born 1964-1977) and Y (born 1978-1998).

Shrewd online shoppers, Generation X has been raised with a keen understanding of marketing and media, and focuses on gathering information and gaining a deep understanding of products prior to purchase, according to Barber. Traditional media and the Internet play important roles in their information gathering.

In contrast, Barber found that when Generation Y makes decisions, they look to their parents, and often their peers, for guidance and have trouble making decisions on their own because of excessive “hovering” parental oversight. The need to conform to parental norms and an overdependence on technology, coupled with the ease of connecting with peers, adds to their inability to make decisions.

For details of the study and Dr. Barber's advice for marketers, click here.

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