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Gen-Y’s Love Affair With Shopping

By October 18, 2013 No Comments

No matter where they live, Generation Y—the Millennials—are molding the retail landscape with their love of shopping in all its forms. According to a study from the Urban Land Institute, adults age 18-35 spend plenty of time on retail websites, but they also like to touch and experience products in person.


In order of popularity, most Millennials shop at these outlets at least once per month:

  • Discount department stores and warehouse clubs like Walmart and Costco (90 percent)
  • Neighborhood and community shopping centers (74 percent)
  • Enclosed malls, full line department stores, big box stores, chain apparel stores and neighborhood businesses (about 60 percent each).


Ever plugged in, Millennials also spend an extraordinary amount of time shopping online. More than 90 percent bought something from a website in the past 6 months, and nearly half of them spend more than an hour per day looking at retail-oriented websites where they check celebrity trends, read blogs and mentally try on new looks.


Men are even more obsessed than women. Eight percent spend three hours or more on retail sites—that’s per day; only 4 percent of women spend this long. Men are more likely to buy electronics, sporting goods and liquor online, and they also spend more money. Fifteen percent of guys dish out between $100 and $300 online per week, as compared to just 4 percent of women who buy this much.


Restaurants are another way Gen-Y is molding the retail landscape. Gen-Y’ers love eating out as much as they love shopping, and half frequently combine the two activities. Nearly 4 in 10 eat out at least once a week. It’s notable that men of this age eat out significantly more than women, 45 to 31 percent.


Though the picture of a Gen-Y adult may be a coffee-toting urbanite, in reality Millennials are fairly evenly split between city people (39 percent), suburbanites (29 percent) and small town folks (32 percent). Though one-quarter still live with their parents, more than 8 in 10 Gen-Y’ers are expected to own homes by 2015.