Consumer Spending Soars And Mobile Millennials Are Growing – But Don’t Forget The Boomers

cybermondaycartsThe beginning of the holiday sales period was record-breaking for retailers, despite thinner Black Friday crowds and reduced Cyber Monday shoppers. (121 million compared to 127 million last year according to the National Retail Foundation.) Still, weekend sales reached $8 billion – following a disappointing weekend sales period last year – while Monday sales passed $3 billion – when last year Cyber Monday broke US records with sales just over $2 billion. What gives?

First, retailers accounted this year for the strain created by consumer spending surges by pushing pre-buys and reserved deals, making it easier to manage in-store inventory, shipping and delivery, according to Adobe head of mobile Matt Asay.

This strategy also anticipates the changing way people spend. Before Black Friday, Asay said customers are spreading out their purchases and that instead of a spike, he anticipated “a high plateau.”

Part of this change is generational, as younger consumers aren’t making immediate purchases. For instance, an IAB survey found younger consumers tend to shop one place and buy elsewhere, while adults 34 and older are far more likely to convert within the same retail location even if they’ve been showrooming.

Generational Strategies

These shifts mean retailers need different approaches for different consumer age brackets, even during the mass-spending holiday free-for-all.

“Millennials, on the other hand, are more likely to use mobile-driven tools,” which can include texts, mobile payments and shopping apps, among others, said Kim Finnerty, SVP of research and insights at Epsilon. Unfortunately, these channels are harder to effectively track and measure.

These challenges actually elevate the value of baby boomers for retailers. “Boomers are as likely, or more likely than other generations, to shop using websites and emails, load-to-card coupons, and online reviews,” Finnerty said. These retail-friendly digital channels can close the path-to-purchase loop. Additionally, older customers are also more likely, having gone to a physical location to product hunt, to end up converting later on the retailer’s site.

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