The Generation Gap – the 5 shopping traits that are determined by age

Music, dress, holidays…. we all know that our tastes and behaviours in these life experiences changes as we age. The music we loved in our 20s may become a din in our 50s; the clothes we thought looked so great in our youth have long been consigned to the op-shop when we hit our 40s and sun, sand and stay-up-all-night holidays tend to have been replaced long before we hit our 60s.

But did you realise that the same is true of shopping habits? That there are significant differences in our shopping habits depending on our age? Here, it’s not so much a case of growing out of our younger habits as we age, more that we are less likely to pick up the new shopping styles and habits offered by advances in technology.

For retailers, this means that if they are truly to offer personalised service, they absolutely have to take into account the demographics of their shoppers and ensure they are delivering the service that each age group needs.

Personalisation is one of the key pillars of iVend’s omnichannel approach, and so when we commissioned research into shopping habits and attitudes to technology in Australia and New Zealand, we made sure that it focussed on the differences between shoppers of different age groups. So, based on our survey, here are the 5 key differentiators between shoppers of 18-34 and those in the 35-64 bracket.


  1. Click and Collect
    We know that Click and Collect, or order online, pickup in store is growing rapidly in popularity, as it combines the convenience of online with the ingrained love of the bricks and mortar store experience. But it is growing much faster with the younger demographic, where it has now tipped over to the majority (51%) regularly shopping this way. Acceptance of click and collect in the 35-64 bracket is slower, with 34% using it so far.
  2. Smartphone offers
    Whilst behind Click and Collect in popularity, the wish to have offers sent direct to a smartphone is also growing, and again, much faster in the younger demographic. Here, 39% of shoppers aged 18-35 would love to hear their phone ping with an offer. The older group are less keen, with less than half that percentage saying that a phone offer is something that would appeal to them.
  3. Recommendations from staff
    The idea of a staff member being able to make personalised recommendations to you is growing in appeal, at least amongst the 18-34s. They would love to be approached by a tablet-wielding staff member, who can guide them to products they might like, based details of their previous purchases. This notion is considerably less popular with the over-35s, with only 12% stating that they would value this service.
  4. DIY in-store research
    If shoppers need to do further research once they are in the store, the younger demographic are much more likely to want to ‘do it themselves’, using their Smartphone. 45% of this age group reach for their screens when they need information, compared to just 18% of the over-35s. Overall, 62% of 18-34s prefer to look up information themselves (either on their phone or an in-store kiosk) rather than ask a member of staff.
  5. Store or online for convenience?
    All shoppers want convenience, but the final age-differentiated shopping characteristic is how we define convenience. In the18-34 age bracket, the majority (54%) believe that online is more convenient than the store. Amongst older shoppers, the opposite is true, with 72% finding it more convenient to visit a physical store. The generation gap is alive and well, and there certainly is a very a real difference in shopping habits based on age. Retailers who ignore this do so at their peril and risk implementing approaches that don’t meet the demands of their demographic, or a single ‘one size fits all’ that will alienate many of their customers. Knowledge is power and retailers who arm themselves with this knowledge will be the winners in the battle for happy and loyal customers.
To download a full report of the research carried out by iVend into shopping habits in Australia and New Zealand, please click here.

Senior Vice President of Sales for Asia Pacific and the Americas, for CitiXsys, Paula Da Silva has more than 10 years’ experience in the retail industry associated with delivering innovative software solutions to mid and large sized retailers. Known for her strong track record of operational excellence and managing a global ecosystem of technology partners, Paula has been instrumental in building the iVend Retail into a global market leader in the retail industry and plays a major role in the Company’s overall performance.

Paula Da Silva