Baby Boomers vs. Millennials: do they shop as differently as we think?

Article from the strategy desk at Curb Crowser

Here at Curb, insights drive everything we do. They’re the tidy, logical boundaries (and often times those “a-ha moments”) that guide every one of our creative and strategic efforts.

No surprise, we dig up a lot of insights on millennials, the generation of 18ish-37ish year-olds who make up nearly 25% of the population and have become the marketing buzzword of the decade. There’s truth behind the power of millennials, though: their habits are making major shifts to the shopping experiences of yore.

Meanwhile, let’s not forget that baby boomers are not far behind millennials as the 2nd largest generation coming in at 23.3% of the population. Not exactly a small demographic, either. Ranging in age from 53–65 (again, -ish), they’re reaching retirement age, but certainly not slowing down at retail. So when, one of our recent batches of insights dug into the baby boomer generation’s shopping habits in-store, it was a refreshing step out of the box of millennial data.

Here’s quick recap of both generations and some of their shopping habits:


  • Transient
  • Not brand loyal
  • Hyper-engaged online
  • All about the experience

Baby boomers:

  • Care about value
  • Look for convenience
  • Are extremely brand and style loyal
  • Care about experience

Wait. Hold up. These two generations are drastically different yet share a common trait? Yep. You read that right.

Great in-store experiences might look different for boomers and millennials, sure.

But our insights show that since boomers care about convenience, to them “experience” might look like a display that puts all their dinner prep needs in one place. On the other hand, “experience” for millennials living in the digital world, might look like a seamless transition from brand presence online to the brand experience on the shelf.

Different? Yeah. But also — the human truth at the core of both? Not so different. Customers — boomers and millennials alike — want a retail experience that goes further to make it uniquely work for them.

Your takeaway?

Good brands performing well at retail transcends generations. It goes beyond merely looking at statistics that fit your target audience. Let these valuable insights influence your strategy. Giving your consumers what they care about — an experience — means you’re going above and beyond to just make things better. To do it right. And that’s a human truth relevant at any age, for any brand.

So brands and retailers, here’s your rally cry. If you’re not already prioritizing your customer experience, consider this your invitation. It matters now, more than ever. Shoppers of every generation will thank you.

Interested in more insights-based branding? Connect with Curb Crowser here.