NRF Survey Shows Unique Shopping Habits of Millennial Parents

The spring edition of the National Retail Federation’s quarterly Consumer View report released on April 30th shows that millennial parents shop, spend and engage with brands differently than parents in other generations. The Consumer View report findings are based on information gleaned from a nationally representative survey that targeted 3,002 U.S. adult consumers 18 or older between January 30 and February 18.

“The millennial generation has at turns confounded, inspired and challenged researchers and analysts with their spending habits,” Katherine Cullen, NRF director of retail and consumer insights, said. “As many millennials move into parenthood, we are beginning to see how their expectations and shopping preferences compare with those of previous generations. Whether it’s using a subscription service to make sure diapers don’t run out or going online to research the best crib or car seat, millennials shop differently than other parents.”

Millennials make a significant contribution to the $1 trillion U.S. parents spend annually on raising their children. Born between 1981 and 1994, they are parents to 50 percent of today’s children. Over 1 million millennial women become new mothers each year.

The following key findings show marked differences between millennial parents and parents of other generations.

  • 40 percent hold a graduate degree–more than double the 19 percent of other parents
  • 69 percent of respondents earn more than the national median income of $59,000 a year, compared with 53 percent of other parents
  • Millennials hold a positive outlook on their futures: the generation’s consumer confidence has risen over 20 percent since 2008, and a third feel that their financial situation has improved over the last year
  • 80 percent of millennials with children are in their 30s

They also rely heavily on their mobile devices at every point during the shopping experience.

  • 78 percent use their phones to research products (compared with 58 percent of other parents)
  • 75 percent to check prices or availability (also compared with 58 percent)
  • 71 percent to pay at checkout or place an order (compared to 51 percent)
  • 71 percent will leave a review, process a return or chat with customer service after purchasing, compared with 43 percent of other parents

Often rushed, 86 percent of millennial parents have used same-day shipping compared with just 67 percent of parents from other generations. And 53 percent expect free shipping on small orders under $50 compared with 66 percent of other parents. Subscription services are used by 40 percent, compared with 18 percent of other parents.

“To keep parents of any generation happy, brands and retailers must deliver on both price and quality,” Cullen said. “But millennials are very concerned about good customer services and are twice as likely to back out of a purchase for lack of it. For millennials, service ranks ahead of convenience, selection and loyalty programs.”

Millennial parents say where they shop matters, with 44 percent only shopping at brands that reflect their social or political values, compared to 23 percent of parents from other generations.

They are loyal to brands. Despite less expensive options, the survey found 49 percent remain loyal to a brand, compared with 30 percent of other parents. And 52 percent will remain loyal despite more convenient options, compared with 35 percent of other parents–and 64 percent will shop at a brand they are loyal to before looking at a competitor, compared with 54 percent of other parents.