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US Millennial Online Shopping Habits Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Millennial Online Shopping Habits market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

For the purposes of this report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

  • Millennials are defined as the generation born between 1977 and 1994. In 2019, Millennials are aged 25-42. In reference to the consumer survey findings, Millennials are defined as:
  • Younger Millennials: internet users aged 25-32
  • Older Millennials: internet users aged 33-42

This report will focus on how Millennials are shopping online across categories, including what motivates consumers to shop online, what barriers currently limit or prevent consumers from purchasing online, and what retailers can do to improve online shopping in the future.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Alexis DeSalva, a leading analyst in the Retail sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Millennials are more digitally native than older generations and consequently, are comfortable making a variety of purchases for various needs and recipients online. Still, many also see value in shopping in stores, depending on the occasion and need. They want to connect with retailers, especially through social media, but also want options designed to meet their shopping preference based on the occasion or type of purchase Alexis DeSalva
Retail & Apparel Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • Issue: Amazon is popular, but it’s not the only place Millennials shop
            • Opportunity: In-store shopping is still relevant
              • Issue: reviews can prevent or prompt purchases
                • Opportunity: Social media is a tool for customer communication and encouraging purchases
                  • What it means
                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                    • Market Perspective

                      • Who are Millennials?
                        • Figure 1: Millennial consumer by key demographics, March 2019
                    • Market Factors

                      • Single Millennials possess different shopping priorities versus married Millennials
                        • Figure 2: Distribution of households, by age of householder and type of household, 2018
                      • Older Millennials may have more income, but potentially face more financial responsibilities
                        • Figure 3: Household income distribution, shares by age of householder, 2017
                      • Millennials: not digitally native, but digitally integrated
                      • Key Players

                        • Overview: Millennials’ brand perceptions
                          • Figure 4: Retailer perceptions, March 2019
                        • The good:
                          • The struggling:
                            • The unaware:
                              • Figure 5: Correspondence analysis – Principal map – Retailer perceptions, March 2019
                          • What’s Working?

                            • The race to reach customers: expedited delivery is a hot topic
                              • Target keeps Millennials happy with revamped assortments
                                • Figure 6: Target email campaign, April 2019
                                • Figure 7: Target Email campaign, May 2019
                            • What’s Struggling?

                              • Department stores’ efforts to evolve multichannel shopping go unnoticed by many Millennials
                                • Figure 8: Macy’s Instagram post, May 2019
                                • Figure 9: Nordstrom email campaign, September 2018
                            • What’s Next?

                              • Renting is the new owning
                                • Figure 10: American Eagle email campaign, February 2019
                              • Social media will become an integral part of online shopping
                                • Figure 11: Shop Instagram profile, May 2019
                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                              • Millennials prioritize fashion and entertainment purchases online
                                • Amazon is preferred, but emerging retailers are of interest
                                  • Millennials are multichannel shoppers
                                    • Social media plays a role in Millennials’ purchases
                                    • Items Purchased and Frequency

                                      • Key takeaways:
                                        • Fashion and entertainment purchases are a top priority
                                          • Figure 12: Items Purchased, March 2019
                                        • Millennials replenish online
                                          • Figure 13: Purchase frequency – NET (any monthly purchase), March 2019
                                          • Figure 14: Birchbox in Walgreens stores, May 2019
                                        • Dads are targets for expanding grocery initiatives
                                          • Figure 15: Weekly grocery purchase (NET), by parental status, March 2019
                                        • Hispanic Millennials fulfill beauty and personal care needs online
                                          • Figure 16: Items purchased, by Hispanic origin, March 2019
                                      • Item Recipients

                                        • Key takeaways:
                                          • Recipient influences purchase
                                            • Figure 17: Item recipients, March 2019
                                          • Surprising shoppers: men fulfill beauty and fashion purchases online
                                            • Figure 18: Item purchased for others (select), by gender, March 2019
                                          • Millennial parents shop for the whole family
                                            • Figure 19: Item recipients, by parental status, March 2019
                                            • Figure 20: Kohl’s email campaign, June 2019
                                        • Retailers Shopped

                                          • Key takeaways:
                                            • Millennials shop a mix of established and emerging retailers
                                              • Figure 21: Retailers shopped, March 2019
                                            • Gender divide exist in retailers shopped dictated by purchase type
                                              • Figure 22: Retailers shopped (select), by gender, March 2019
                                              • Figure 23: Nordstrom email campaign, December 2018
                                            • Millennial shoppers drive interest in alternative retailers
                                              • Figure 24: Etsy Instagram post, April 2019
                                          • Online Shopping Behavior

                                            • Key takeaways:
                                              • Most Millennials aren’t exclusively shopping online
                                                • Figure 25: Online shopping behavior, March 2019
                                              • Parents are socially influenced shoppers
                                                • Figure 26: Shop Instagram post, May 2019
                                                • Figure 27: Online shopping behavior, by parental status, March 2019
                                              • Young men experiment with alternative purchasing options
                                                • Figure 28: Online shopping behavior, by gender and age, March 2019
                                            • Attitudes toward Online Shopping

                                              • Key takeaways:
                                                • Most Millennials’ purchase decisions are situational; fewer are intentional
                                                  • Figure 29: Attitudes toward online shopping, March 2019
                                                • Online shopping concerns still exist
                                                  • Figure 30: Feather Instagram post, January 2019
                                                • Parents want to try before buying
                                                • Attitudes toward Social Media and Reviews

                                                  • Key takeaways:
                                                    • Reviews are important and can prompt or prevent purchases
                                                      • Figure 31: Attitudes toward social media and product reviews, March 2019
                                                    • Younger Millennials value product reviews
                                                      • Figure 32: Attitudes toward product reviews, by age, March 2019
                                                    • Connecting to parents through social media
                                                      • Figure 33: Attitudes toward product reviews (select), parents vs non-parents, March 2019
                                                      • Figure 34: Tips & Tricks: Keeping Baby Dry Overnight, April 2018
                                                  • Purchase Influencers

                                                    • Key takeaways:
                                                      • Peers, displays and digital influence Millennials’ purchases
                                                        • Figure 35: Purchase influencers, March 2019
                                                      • Younger Millennials are swayed by many sources
                                                        • Figure 36: Purchase influencers, by gender and age, March 2019
                                                      • The Influence of Influencers
                                                        • Parents value brand influence more than those without children
                                                          • Figure 37: Purchase influencers (select), by parental status, March 2019
                                                      • Important Brand Attributes

                                                        • Key takeaways:
                                                          • Return policy and security are most important
                                                            • Figure 38: Important brand attributes (any rank), March 2019
                                                          • Gender divides: women’s considerations versus men’s
                                                            • Women consider returns, recalls and eco-friendly products
                                                              • Figure 39: The Honest Company Instagram post, April 2019
                                                            • Men consider alternative options, sustainability and other causes
                                                              • Figure 40: Brandless Instagram post, February 2019
                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                            • Data sources
                                                              • Consumer survey data
                                                                • Direct marketing creative
                                                                  • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                    • Abbreviations