“Gen Z and Millennials are similar in many ways: they are digital natives who enjoy the online experience; they expect brands to leverage technologies to meet their specific needs; they hold brands accountable for their actions. Online, Gen Z and Millennials prioritize different value-added offerings from brands as they navigate different stages of life. Moving forward, COVID-19 and the recession will evolve the role and importance of ecommerce in their shopping journey. Retailers must explore ways to improve the online shopping experience and adapt to the changing needs of both generations.”
– Katie Yackey, eCommerce Analyst

This Report covers the following areas:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on the online shopping behaviors of Gen Z and Millennials.
  • The effect unemployment and limited discretionary funds as a result of the recession will have on each generation’s online spend.
  • Current online shopping behaviors and preferences of Gen Z and Millennials.
  • Key elements of ecommerce shopping.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
          • Millennials
            • Gen Z
            • Executive Summary

                • Market overview
                  • Figure 1: US population, by generation, 2020
                • Top takeaways
                  • Brand Name vs Brand Identity
                    • Figure 2: Ecommerce traits attitudes, by generation, February 2020
                  • Experiences rule the day
                    • Figure 3: Shopping behaviors, by generation, February 2020
                  • Gen Z and Millennials divert product attention on social media
                    • Figure 4: Learning about products, Younger Generation Z, February 2020
                    • Figure 5: Learning about products, February 2020
                  • Impact of COVID-19 on eCommerce Behaviors: Gen Z and Millennials
                    • Figure 6: Short-, medium- and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce, June 2020
                  • What’s next
                  • Impact of COVID-19 on eCommerce Behaviors: Gen Z and Millennials

                      • Figure 7: Short-, medium- and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on ecommerce, June 2020
                    • Opportunities and Threats
                      • Improving the omnichannel experience
                        • Leverage tech to evolve the online shopping experience
                          • Figure 8: Brookfield Properties and FIt:Match Partnership
                        • Leverage the vast online network to shop small and local
                          • Figure 9: Privy’s ShopSmallEcomm highlights small ecommerce brands
                        • Cross-promotion and partnerships help meet consumers’ changing needs
                          • Figure 10: Brand partnerships cater to consumers’ changing lifestyles
                        • Garnering Gen Z’s attention through gaming
                          • Figure 11: Riot Games in-game sponsorships
                        • Impact of COVID-19 on the ecommerce market
                          • Figure 12: Total US retail ecommerce sales and forecast, at current prices, 2015-25
                          • Figure 13: Amazon COVID-19 response
                          • Figure 14: Old Navy targets in-store & online shoppers
                        • How the COVID-19 crisis will affect Gen Z and Millennials
                          • Changes for how Gen Z learns, lives, and shops
                            • Millennial parents struggle to reduce stress and stay in balance
                              • Figure 15: Child makes an appearance on mother’s video conference
                              • Figure 16: Apple Camp at Home Summer Program
                            • How a COVID-19 recession will reshape Gen Z and Millennial consumers
                              • Gen Z & Millennials feel the strain from unemployment and the decreasing job market
                                • Figure 17: Unemployment, January 2007-June 2020
                                • Figure 18: Seasonal unemployment rate among workers aged 16-19 years, January 2010-May 2020
                              • COVID-19: US context
                              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                • A diverse Gen Z
                                  • New lifestage for Millennials
                                    • Both generations are informed and attentive
                                      • Prioritize the environment
                                      • Market Size

                                        • The Gen Z and Millennial Populations
                                          • Gen Z
                                            • Millennials
                                              • Figure 19: US population, by generation, 2020
                                              • Figure 20: Gen Z demographic breakdown
                                              • Figure 21: Generations, by Hispanic origin, 2019
                                          • Market Factors

                                            • Timid toward future financial footing
                                              • Figure 22: Unemployment, January 2007-June 2020
                                            • Mintel’s Global Consumer Trend Drivers
                                              • Protecting their Rights and the rights of others
                                                • Figure 23: Nike BLM support
                                              • Creating connections through one’s Identity
                                                • eCommerce and tech: a symbiotic relationship
                                                  • Figure 24: Shoppable Pinterest page
                                                  • Figure 25: Brookfield Properties and Fit:Match Partnership
                                                • Eco-anxiety looms large over Gen Z and Millennials
                                                  • Figure 26: Allbirds Carbon Footprint tracker
                                                • Adding Value to the Millennial-consumer experience
                                                  • Figure 27: Warby Parker
                                                • Evolving Experiences for consumers in the next normal
                                                  • Figure 28: Brands bring experiences to Gen Z
                                              • Brands Resonating with Gen Z

                                                • Brands need to connect, advocate, and personalize
                                                  • Video is the new way to connect: FaceTime, Snapchat, TikTok
                                                    • An integrated digital experience: Nike
                                                      • A world of choices: Apply Music, Spotify, and YouTube
                                                        • Figure 29: Spotify 2019 Wrapped
                                                    • Brands Resonating with Millennials

                                                      • Millennials like their style with an adult twist
                                                        • Target: The lifestyle brand
                                                          • Figure 30: The Designer Dress Collection by Target
                                                        • Instagram: Lifestyle brands’ social platform
                                                          • Direct-to-consumer: The intersection of expression and value
                                                            • Figure 31: Glossier oily skin interview
                                                        • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                          • Parents still play an important role in Gen Z’s purchase abilities
                                                            • Gen Z and Millennials differ on brand name and brand values
                                                              • Amazon is looked to for convenience
                                                                • Social media connects brands with consumers
                                                                  • Brands need to recognize the lifestage, not only the generation
                                                                  • Generation Z eCommerce Overview

                                                                    • Young Gen Z is well on their ecommerce way
                                                                      • Figure 32: Online shopping frequency, Younger Generation Z, February 2020
                                                                      • Figure 33: Online shopping frequency, Older Generation Z, February 2020
                                                                    • Cash in sporadic segments
                                                                      • Figure 34: Spending money, Younger Generation Z by age, February 2020
                                                                    • Gen Z is unafraid of purchasing products online
                                                                      • Figure 35: Products bought, Generation Z, February 2020
                                                                      • Figure 36: Products bought, Older Generation Z, February 2020
                                                                  • Millennial eCommerce Overview

                                                                    • Millennials: The first to cross the seamless shopping bridge
                                                                      • Figure 37: Online shopping frequency, Millennials, February 2020
                                                                    • Millennials embrace ecommerce for all product types
                                                                      • Figure 38: Products bought, Millennials, February 2020
                                                                  • eCommerce Attributes

                                                                    • Preferences are similar until brands are involved
                                                                      • Figure 39: Ecommerce brand focused attributes, by generation, February 2020
                                                                      • Figure 40: Burt’s Bees Shopper Protection
                                                                      • Figure 41: Ecommerce experience attributes, by generation, February 2020
                                                                  • Retailers Shopped

                                                                    • Convenience and variety key factors in choosing where to shop
                                                                      • Figure 42: Online retailers shopped, by generation, February 2020
                                                                      • Figure 43: TargetStyle on Instagram
                                                                  • Motivation and Learning

                                                                    • Social media lends itself to consumer-brand interactions
                                                                      • Figure 44: Learning about products, Younger Generation Z, February 2020
                                                                      • Figure 45: Learning about products, Older Generation Z, February 2020
                                                                    • Reviews are key to Millennial discovery
                                                                      • Figure 46: Learning about products, February 2020
                                                                      • Figure 47: Lulu’s Highlights Customer Reviews
                                                                    • Social communities are a friend for parents
                                                                      • Figure 48: Learning about products, February 2020
                                                                      • Figure 49: Yumi fosters a community for parents
                                                                  • Online Shopping Behavior and Attitudes

                                                                    • Importance of omnichannel approach gets elevated
                                                                      • Figure 50: PepsiCo snack bundles
                                                                      • Figure 51: Shopping behaviors, by generation, February 2020
                                                                    • Recognize the lifestyle differences, not only the generation
                                                                      • Figure 52: Online shopping attitudes, Younger & Older Gen Z, February 2020
                                                                    • Millennials want time to explore their options
                                                                      • Figure 53: Online shopping attitudes, Millennials, February 2020
                                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                    • Data sources
                                                                      • Consumer survey data
                                                                        • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                          • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                            • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                • Figure 54: Consumer attitudes toward learning, age 18-24

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