End of the online boom? Not for Millennials says ESW report
There's been a lot of talk post-pandemic about how online shopping has fallen back to normal levels and physical shopping has recovered to a level few expected. But many consumers remain heavily focused on e-commerce, and Millennials are most prominent among them.
New data from DTC e-commerce giant ESW shows that Millennial consumers actually prefer online to in-store shopping.
In its most recent Global Voices Survey, more than 27% of Millennial shoppers said they’ll spend “significantly more online and less in-store” this year across categories including health & beauty, luxury, and apparel & footwear.
The study also revealed that in total, nearly 73% of Millennial shoppers plan to spend the same or more online in 2023, making them the leaders in global e-commerce spending for 2023 if their eventual spend matches their current intentions.
“The Millennial consumer remains fully committed to their preference for online shopping over physical retail,” said Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, President and CEO, ESW Americas. “Millennials’ spending power has grown to $2.5 trillion, and they are not yet even in their prime earning years. They are spending more online than in-store across several categories, and these results indicate that brands must continue to evolve, improve, and optimise their e-commerce to attract and retain this increasingly powerful demographic.”
ESW spoke to more than 16,000 respondents in 16 countries, including international shoppers across all demographics. It also dug deeper into shoppers who pay full price as well as “power shoppers”, or those who spent $2,500 or more online in the last 12 months.
Its finding that Millennials are still e-tail focused is interesting given what has been happening at retail in the past few years. Consumers migrated online rapidly during pandemic lockdowns, with a decade of development compressed into a very short period and physical retail not expected to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.
However, in the last year, although footfall still hasn't fully recovered in many places, consumers have re-embraced physical shopping, and those who do go to physical stores appear to be spending more per trip. It means physical retail in key destinations, is on an upswing.
At the same time, many retailers have reported falling online sales, and this has been a particular problem for pureplay e-tailers that don't have physical stores to fall back on.
So the fact that the Millennial group is more focused on e-tail than ever is a big opportunity.
ESW said nearly 50% more Millennials will increase their online spending for health & beauty products this year compared to Gen Z, and 42% more than Gen X and Baby Boomers.
Some 27% of Millennials will spend more for luxury goods online in 2023, compared to 20% of Gen Z, 22% of Gen X, and 21% of Baby Boomers.
And a massive 77% more Millennials will increase their online spending for apparel & footwear, making them the top demographic here.
If we get more granular and look at the power shoppers in particular, we also find that 52% more Millennials will increase their spend on luxury, beating both Gen Z, Gen X and Baby Boomers.
And 29% of Millennial power shoppers, compared to 21% of Gen Z, 23% of Gen X, and 27% of Baby Boomers, will spend more on apparel & footwear online.
That said, more Baby Boomer power shoppers (35%) will spend more on health & beauty products online, compared to Gen Z (18%), Millennials (32%), and Gen X (24%).
The study also discovered that for luxury, 28% of Millennials will spend more on full-price online luxury purchases this year compared to 17% of Gen Z, 25% of Gen X, and 19% of Baby Boomers.
And for full-price footwear & apparel purchases online, 20% of Millennials will spend more this year versus 14% of Gen Z, 15% of Gen X, and 11% of Baby Boomers.
ESW spoke to consumers in Canada, the US, Mexico, the UK, Switzerland, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, South Africa, the UAE, India, China, South Korea, Japan and Australia.
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