Rapid Evolution of Consumer Behavior, Brand Interaction: Report

There are clear divisions in consumer behavior, mainly two groups Gen Z and Millennials, with the largest divide being generational. Recent years have seen a profound transformation in the way individuals approach shopping. As such, businesses need to recognize that each cohort brings unique preferences, values, and expectations to the shopping experience.

According to The Great Generational Shopping Divide, Near’s Retail Report, Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers have different approaches to shopping. Understanding the generational disparities is vital for brands and shopping centers to tinker with their strategies. Consumer behavior data unites various data sources to shed light on how consumers dine, shop, travel, work, and more.

The report says that only through robust and reliable consumer behavior data can help brands and shopping centers make informed decisions and craft consumer-centric strategies. “By acknowledging the unique attributes of each generation and leveraging high-quality consumer behavior data, businesses can tailor their marketing approaches, product offerings, and shopping experiences to resonate with their target audiences effectively.”

Free Woman Wearing Black Coat Holding Assorted-color Shopping Bags on Building Stock Photo

It established that:

Younger shoppers are leading the way on omnichannel shopping – while a majority of shoppers (80 percent) of all ages are regularly online shopping, about 52 percent are engaging in omnichannel shopping. Gen Z and Millennials are roughly about 2x more likely to do omnichannel shopping than boomers.

Gen Z and Millennials have higher expectations for brands and shopping centers around experience and technology –  consumers in both groups indicated that they shop more from brands that have an app. They are also more likely to visit stores with unique and personalized experiences, such as recommendations based on shopping history and digital catalogs. About 88 percent of Gen Z and Millennials want to engage with their favorite shopping center through app, social media, and loyalty programs, etc.

Different generations are drawn to different aspects of the shopping experience – Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to visit shopping malls and outlet malls than older generations, and older generations are more likely to prefer discount stores. Both groups favor shopping centers with more entertainment and dining options, while Boomers prefer shopping centers with good parking spaces and grocery stores.

Shoppers prefer shopping near home more, remote work is enabling this – proximity to home was the top factor for shoppers of all ages in preferring one shopping center over others; 57 percent indicated this was a top factor, with 16 percent saying proximity to work. Among commuters, 60 percent said they are visiting stores near their homes more than they were a few years ago. And among newly-remote workers, 68 percent said they used to visit shops near their workplaces before 2020.

Free People Walking in Shopping Center on a Winter Holiday.

Younger consumers plan to spend more time for the rest of the year – 52 percent of Gen Z and 48 percent of Millennials plan to spend more for the rest of the year, compared to 29 percent of Gen X and 21 percent of Boomers. Around 42 percent of Millennials and 43 percent of Gen X say the economy is affecting their spending plans.


Differences in shopping approaches have substantial implications for businesses aiming to thrive in today’s dynamic marketplace. Technological advancements and shifting cultural values, preferences, and expectations of consumers from different generations have given rise to a spectrum of shopping behaviors, with younger generations inclined toward omnichannel shopping, engagement with brands, and interactions with shopping centers.

Also Read: Volvo Sees Equation With Gen Z, Brand Loyalty and Sustainability

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Nandika Chand