US Millennials: Online Shopping Behaviours Market Report 2021
“Comprising nearly 25% of the population with over $1 trillion in spending power, Millennials are a powerful and savvy group of shoppers. They want streamlined and convenient shopping experiences with…

US Millennials: Online Shopping Behaviours Market Report 2021

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“Comprising nearly 25% of the population with over $1 trillion in spending power, Millennials are a powerful and savvy group of shoppers. They want streamlined and convenient shopping experiences with ways to add in personalized offerings as they shop online. Moving forward, online channels will continue to be instrumental in Millennials’ consumer journey, creating various opportunities for brands and retailers to engage with them.”
– Katie Yackey, Retail and eCommerce Analyst

This Report looks at the following areas

  • Older Millennials driving the rise of ecommerce.
  • The impact of COVID-19 on Millennials and their shopping behavior
  • Millennials need for convenience, experiences, and sustainability as they shop online
  • The critical role of social commerce and technology throughout the ecommerce journey

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
    • COVID-19: US context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
      • Figure 1: Population by generation, 2021
      • Figure 2: Distribution of generations by race and Hispanic origin, 2021
    • Impact of COVID-19 on Millennials
      • Figure 3: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on Millennials, June 2021
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Connect on social to provide convenience
    • Creating Millennial communities
    • Offer flexible shopping options to help Millennials manage budgets
  3. Millennials by the Numbers – Key Takeaways

    • Connecting with the largest generation
    • COVID-19 disrupted lifestyles and spurred new habits for Millennials
    • Rocky unemployment and recessions create a generation seeking deals
  4. Millennials by the Numbers

    • Millennials remain a force to be reckoned with
      • Figure 4: Population by generation, 2021
    • Millennial Demographics
    • One of the most diverse generations
      • Figure 5: Distribution of generations by race and Hispanic origin, 2021
    • Gender splits evenly
      • Figure 6: Millennials by gender, 2021
    • Impact of COVID-19 on Millennials
      • Figure 7: Attitudes toward researching, February 2021
  5. Market Factors

    • Up and down unemployment leads to a generation of deal hunters
      • Figure 8: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007-April 2021
    • Tech bridges the online and offline shopping journey
      • Figure 9: CocoKind uses on-pack QR codes to share product info
    • Privacy and data collection will shape future online shopping experience
      • Figure 10: Apple’s app tracking transparency
    • Environmental practices are no joke to consumers
  6. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Using experiences to drive engagement
    • Environmental initiatives are a must-have
    • Leveraging social along the shopping journey
    • BNPL offerings help Millennials better manage expenses
  7. Competitive Strategies

    • Leveraging experiences to connect with consumers
      • Figure 11: FabFitFun customization
    • Tapping into Millennials’ desire for environmental initiatives
      • Figure 12: Lululemon highlights resale initiative
    • Providing Millennials with safe, secure and smooth shopping
  8. Market Opportunities

    • Using social to connect, play, and shop
    • Partnering with BNPL platforms to provide Millennials (financial) pliability
    • Use DTC options to connect with Millennials
  9. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Connect with the largest generation
    • Use social media to streamline the shopping journey
    • Combining platforms for a cohesive conversation
    • Giving Millennials a voice in their rewards
    • Equipping Millennials to make informed decisions
  10. Understanding Millennials

    • Millennials maintain a prominent online shopping presence
      • Figure 13: Millennials online shopping frequency, February 2021
    • Older Millennials look for their prime partners
      • Figure 14: Millennials online shopping frequency, by older/younger millennials, February 2021
    • COVID-19 pushed Millennials’ reliance on ecommerce
      • Figure 15: Online shopping frequency – COVID-19 related, February 2021
      • Figure 16: Abercrombie hosts live social shopping event
    • Categories Shopped
    • Millennials shop online across categories
      • Figure 17: Items bought online, February 2021
    • The need for omnichannel options
      • Figure 18: Where items are purchased, February 2021
      • Figure 19: Nordstrom assistance online
  11. Retailers Shopped

    • Giving Millennials many ways to shop
      • Figure 20: Retailers shopped online, February 2021
    • Reaching all with Amazon, connecting differently with beauty
      • Figure 21: Retailers shopped online, by gender, February 2021
    • Being a partner for parents
      • Figure 22: Retailers shopped online, by parental status, February 2021
  12. Learning and Information

    • Use a full repertoire of platforms to reach Millennials
      • Figure 23: Trusted sources, February 2021
    • Older Millennials go for established channels; Younger seek out emerging options
      • Figure 24: Trusted sources, by older and younger millennials, February 2021
      • Figure 25: Hollister Social Tourist launch on TikTok
    • Building communities and tangible access to products
      • Figure 26: Trusted sources, by gender, February 2021
    • Being part of the parental community
      • Figure 27: Trusted sources, by parental status, February 2021
  13. Behaviors Online

    • Personally rewarding Millennials
      • Figure 28: Behaviors before purchase, February 2021
    • Keeping new and rewarding consumers for loyalty
      • Figure 29: Behaviors before purchase, by gender, February 2021
      • Figure 30: T-Mobile Tuesdays
    • Value is sought across the board
      • Figure 31: Behaviors before purchase, by HHI, February 2021
  14. Important Factors When Shopping Online

    • Acing the basics and excelling in the experience
      • Figure 32: Important online shopping factors, February 2021
    • Personalization is a significant aspect of ecommerce for Millennials
      • Figure 33: Top ranked online shopping factors, February 2021
    • Using each ecommerce element to connect differently with males and females
      • Figure 34: Important online shopping factors, by gender, February 2021
      • Figure 35: Shopping on LG TV
  15. Attitudes toward Shopping Online

    • Easing the search online
      • Figure 36: Attitudes toward researching, February 2021
      • Figure 37: Consumer Reports Instagram
    • Parents investigate more and feel more overwhelmed
      • Figure 38: Attitudes toward researching, by parental status, February 2021
    • Millennials put their money where their mouth is
      • Figure 39: Attitudes toward brand values, February 2021
    • More Millennial males research, but all want to feel good about their purchase
      • Figure 40: Attitudes toward brand values, by gender, February 2021
    • Millennials seek convenience in all aspects
      • Figure 41: Attitudes toward shopping habits, February 2021
    • Parents need strong partners
      • Figure 42: Attitudes toward shopping habits, by parental status, February 2021
    • Social media is a critical path to reach Millennials
      • Figure 43: Attitudes toward social media, February 2021
      • Figure 44: HelloFresh seeks to engage consumers via social
    • Millennials with higher incomes more likely to engage on social
      • Figure 45: Attitudes toward social media, by HHI, February 2021
      • Figure 46: Gucci promotes virtual experiences via social
  16. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our databooks* are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

*databooks not available with UK B2B Industry reports.

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