Millennials Are Using Smartphones More Than PCs for Shopping

January 25, 2019

The younger generation in the US is well above the average when it comes to mobile shopping. While a little more than half (53%) of all shoppers ages 20-72 years have used a smartphone to shop in the past six months, nearly three-quarters (73%) of Generation Y (ages 29-38) report using their smartphone to shop, per new figures from GfK.

Ease of making a purchase on a computer along with small screens on smartphones have been noted as barriers to using mobile devices when shopping. These barriers could contribute to the lower percentage of mobile shopping by the older generations. Seven in 10 Gen Xers (38-53 years) and four-fifths of Boomers (54-72 years) have shopped online via computer in the past 6 months, compared to the 59% and 33%, respectively who used smartphones for shopping.

Online shopping with tablets has a low percentage across generations, with an average of one-quarter having used these devices to shop. Broken down by generation, more Gen Y (35%) used tablets to shop than Gen X (29%) or Boomers (22%).

Mobile Payments Preferred Most by Younger Generation

Previous analysis of GfK’s study revealed that only 19% of adults have used their mobile to make payments in-store. Looking closer, the youngest generations Gen Z (49%) and Gen Y (48%) prefer to use a mobile device to make payments, at a far greater rate than Gen Xers (28%) and Boomers (11%).

Furthermore, more than half of Gen Y and Gen Z found mobile payments to be easier than other methods. Additionally, 3 in 5 respondents in both the Gen Y and Gen Z cohorts also believe that mobile payments are faster than other payment methods, compared to about 2 in 5 Gen Xers and 1 in 5 Boomers who believe the same.

Security is a factor that has no generational boundaries. About 3 in 5 respondents from each generation expressed concern over their personal information with mobile payments.

About the Data: For 2018, GfK’s global FutureBuy® research covers 35 countries and 18 product categories, from home appliances to wearables to beauty and personal care. Data for chart is based on a survey of 1,000 US shoppers (18+). All in all, more than 35,000 consumers were interviewed worldwide.


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