Some Good News for Brick-and-Mortar: Non-Millennials (and Millennials) Do Most of their Shopping in Store


In early February, Situs conducted a survey that asked a random sample of American consumers about their perceptions of the effect of e-commerce on retail industry trends.

Last week we reviewed the habits of millennial shoppers and found that competitive pricing and top-notch customer service could keep them shopping in-store; now, we examine the e-commerce perceptions of non-millennials – defined, for our survey, as people over the age of 35. To what degree does non-millennial technology utilization (computers, smartphones and tablets) affect their choice and frequency of in-store shopping?

While there may be a stereotype that older Americans are not as tech-savvy as their millennial counterparts, our survey shows that there are a surprising number of non-millennials who do most of their shopping online; 24% of our sample said that over half of their shopping is done online.

However, this does not spell doom and gloom for brick-and-mortar retailers. Of those surveyed, 40% say they conduct less than 25% of their shopping online, including 6 percent who do not do any shopping online.

As expected, a greater percentage of millennials than non-millennials do the majority of their shopping online, at 32.5% and 24%, respectively, but in general, the online shopping habits of the two groups are relatively similar (see table below).

Some Good News for Brick-and-Mortar: Non-Millennials (and Millennials) Do Most of their Shopping in Store

We also asked respondents to categorize which types of merchandise they purchase in-store, online, or through a combination of both. Non-millennials overwhelmingly purchased motor vehicles, furniture, building/gardening supplies, and food and beverage in-store only. Millennial shoppers were more likely than non-millennials to purchase items online only; however, the majority of both millennials and non-millennials still preferred to buy motor vehicles, furniture, building/gardening supplies and food and beverage only in stores.

In addition, millennials and non-millennials were more likely to purchase goods using a combination of both online and in store shopping rather than shopping for any type of merchandise solely online.

Non-millennials agree with millennials that shopping malls have been hit hardest by the rise of online shopping, but non-millennials had some different theories.

They expressed a strong feeling that shopping malls no longer cater to older generations. One respondent blamed the type of stores in malls: “They’re just all youth clothing places.”Less noise and clutter in malls were also cited as ways to improve shopping centers.

The group was composed of 53% female and 47% male. Forty-six percent were unemployed, while 45% held full-time positions, and 9% were part-time employees.

Did you miss our full survey results? Find them here.