Baby boomers spend the most online (but Gen X buy more)

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Latest research has found that baby boomers across the globe spend more money online than the younger generations.

KPMG’s global online consumer report revealed that Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) are the generation that spend the most online while Millennials (born between 1982 and 2001) actually spend the least.

Generation X (born between 1966 and 1981) even made 20 per cent more purchases last year than their 'tech-savvy' younger counterparts.

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The research also reveals that UK consumers were more likely to compare prices before making their purchase with 32.1 per cent noting price as a major factor and 72 per cent researching more information on the price before buying. As a result UK shoppers take longer to make a purchase with 2.6 per cent of respondents taking more than three months to purchase whereas globally the result was only 1.7 per cent.

The KPMG international study was based on an online survey of 18,430 consumers living in more than 50 countries, aged between 15 and 70 and each having purchased at least one consumer product online in the past 12 months.

Older generations not be underestimated

Liz Claydon, UK Head of Consumer Markets at KPMG explains how it all comes down to their level of disposable income with Baby Boomers having a higher proportion of wealth concentrated in their age bracket.

“Naturally stage of life and income levels are primary factors in driving both online and offline shopping habits,” explains Liz.

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"Due to structural quirks in the economy, a substantial proportion of wealth is concentrated in the older generations which means Baby Boomers have more disposable income than their younger counterparts," she explains.

Liz continues, “Generation X consumers, many of whom are more established in their careers and may be building homes and families, are likely buying more consumer goods than the younger Millennials."

The global report found that in most countries the most bought products were media, electronics and apparel. Groceries were also in the top five most bought products in the UK.

“Clearly the older generations should therefore not be underestimated in the context of e-commerce made even more apparent in our analysis which showed that Baby Boomers matched the digital-first Millennial generation in making on average 15 online transactions a year but spent on average $30 more per transaction,” Liz adds.

Millennials less influenced

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There is another factor than just a lower income that affects Millennials shopping habits however as the youngest generation in the study was found to not be as easily influenced as the older generations.

“They are very unlikely to be influenced by online advertising but the most likely to consult a blog or peer review before making a purchase,” explains Liz. “This means retailers need to find new and innovative ways to entice the younger generations to continue buying online.”

According to KPMG’s report, Millennials were nearly 50 per cent more likely than Baby Boomers to research a product by visiting a store or discussing the idea with friends or family.

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