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Press release
Financial Services|Retail|Technology|Consumer Insights|Shopper|Trends and Forecasting|United States|English

Three-quarters of Gen Y consumers use smartphone for shopping – GfK FutureBuy®

New York, NY, 14.01.2019

Gens Y, Z are also much more likely to see the benefits of mobile payments – despite concerns about information security

New GfK insights show that Generation Y (ages 29 to 38) is taking the lead in adopting smartphones for shopping in the US, while Baby Boomers (ages 54 to 72) are much more likely to use a home PC or laptop. In addition, Generations Y and Z (ages 19 to 28) in the US are more likely to see the benefits of mobile payment systems.

But the generations are strikingly alike in fearing that their personal information could be compromised when making mobile payments; on average, 6 in 10 US shoppers report this concern. 

The latest annual report in GfK’s FutureBuy® series paints a stark picture of the generational differences in US digital shopping preferences. While 73% of Gen Y reports using a smartphone for shopping within the past 6 months, the figure for Boomers is just 33%. Generation X (ages 39 to 53) – less edgy than Gen Y but still more digital than Boomers – registers at 59%. (See Table 1.)

Table 1. US device usage for shopping, by generation

Past 6 months

 

Average

Gen Y

Gen X

Boomers

PC (home)

69%

59%

69%

79%

Smartphone

53%

73%

59%

33%

Tablet

26%

35%

29%

22%

The same hierarchy holds for tablets, with 35% of Gen Y using them for shopping in the past 6 months, compared to 22% of Boomers and 29% of Gen X.

Not surprisingly, US Boomers rank highest in shopping on home PCs and laptops; roughly eight in 10 (79%) report shopping on a traditional home computer, versus 59% for Gen Y and 69% of Gen X.

Younger shoppers also show much more enthusiasm for mobile payments. More than half of Generations Y and Z say they see mobile payments as easier, faster and more efficient – 15 to 20 percentage points above the US averages. (See Table 2.) Boomers, on the other hand, are substantially below average in all three metrics, with Gen X again ranking somewhere in between – at or near the average.

Table 2. US mobile payments attitudes

 

Avg.

Gen Z

Gen Y

Gen X

Boomers

Prefer to pay with mobile device

30%

49%

48%

28%

11%

Mobile payments easier than other methods

37%

56%

58%

37%

17%

Mobile payments faster than other methods

40%

58%

58%

44%

18%

Mobile payments more efficient than other methods

38%

55%

57%

39%

17%

Concerned re security of personal info w/ mobile payments

59%

57%

59%

60%

61%

The generations are remarkably similar, however, in their concern about the perceived security risks of mobile payments. Among Boomers, 61% report this worry; for Gen X, 60%; and for Gen Y, 59%.

”The divergence we see across generations is a stark reminder of the importance of tactical targeting by retailers and brands alike,” said Joe Beier, EVP of Consumer Insights at GfK. “In the quest to build relationships with shoppers, your executions need to consider the generational profiles of your target.  Programming that might be highly engaging to a Gen Y shopper risks falling flat with a Boomer. Knowing your audience has never been more important.”

For 2018, GfK’s global FutureBuy® research covers 35 countries and 18 product categories, from home appliances to wearables to beauty and personal care. All in all, over 35,000 consumers were interviewed worldwide. In addition to mobile shopping and payments, 2018 FutureBuy® research covers such key topics as

  • the rise of omni-channel shopping
  • shopper loyalty
  • key touchpoints – online and in-store
  • emerging trends, including click-and-collect and voice shopping

To learn more about becoming a FutureBuy client, contact Beier at joe.beier@gfk.com.

   
 
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