Splurges by Gen X, Gen Y Help Boost Economic Recovery

December 18, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Financial Services | Retail & E-Commerce | Youth & Gen X

Members of Generation X and Y (consumers ages 18-44) are looking to the future with optimism and are assisting the economic recovery by continuing to splurge in 2009 on certain types of purchases, according to the most recent research from Performics and ROI Research.?

Data from the eighth month of consumer behavior findings from the “2009 Online Buyer Economic Trend Study” revealed that, on average, more than half of the respondents of all ages think their current household economic situation is the same or better this year compared with their situation a year ago.

The study also revealed that while consumers have unquestionably cut back on a variety of expenses in 2009, rising consumer confidence throughout the past two months has positively affected reported spending. At the same time, however, a disparity of behaviors and attitudes among age groups has emerged.

“The study’s November findings indicate a substantial uptick in positive attitudes, shopping behavior and buying intentions, with younger generations, Gen Y and Gen X, fueling the optimism behind this uptick,” said Michael Kahn, SVP of marketing at Performics.

More Splurges for Gen-X, Gen-Y Demos

Generations X and Y splurged more than any other age group in 2009, despite one of the worst economic years in decades, Performics said.? While three out of four (76%) consumers said they still splurged in 2009, consumers ages 18-44 splurged more than those ages 45 and older in all 11 categories included in the survey.

Categories that topped the list of splurges for the younger generations were apparel, travel/vacation, shoes and theater-based movies.

Splurges among all respondents:


More Spending in 2010

The study also found that, Generations X and Y show greater signs of increased spending in 2010:

  • ?18% of those ages 18-44 expect to spend more overall in the next 60 days than in the same period last year, vs. 13% of those ages 45 and older.
  • 24% of those ages 18-44 expect to spend more online in the next 60 days than in the same period last year, vs. 10% of those ages 45 and older.

Best Deals Found Online

Regardless of who spent money offline or online, consumers were emphatic about the web’s role in helping them make smarter purchase decisions in 2009, especially in light of the recession according to Kahn.? “As we expected, consumers will gladly conduct some online research to save a few dollars here and there, let alone to save hundreds or thousands on big-ticket items.”

When it came to finding the best deals, nearly half of consumers say they found found the best deals online. Some 45% of respondents found the best deals online in the past month vs. only 34% of respondents who said they found the best deals in-stores.


Free Shipping Tops Purchase Factors

Also true for all age groups: Consumers identified select elements of a website that positively affect their willingness to purchase online. Some of the key factors:

  • Free shipping: 85% are most likely to purchase from a website offering free shipping.


  • Free returns: 75% are most likely to purchase from a website offering free return shipping.
  • Home page discounts: 66% say these increase the odds they will buy.
  • Consumer generated reviews: 53% report a greater likelihood to buy.

About the study: Performics commissioned ROI Research to conduct this research, which consists of of monthly surveys from April through December 2009. The November survey was conducted over a two-day period among 300 consumers who have made an online purchase in the past six months. The study collects consumer data each month to track and document changes in consumers’ attitudes and behaviors in light of the current economy and includes additional topical questions with each monthly survey. Specifically, the study tracks the ongoing impact of the recession on online purchases and shifts in the use of the channel.


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