Study: In-Store Shopping Helps Millennial Parents Stay Within Budget

Perception is key when understanding this demographic, and when it comes to factors like budgeting, the length of the season and child-input, there is still much to uncover with respect to the rationale and thinking of millennial parents.
A new study finds that Millennial parents believe shopping in physical stores helps them stay within budget.

A new nationwide study commissioned by Citi Retail Services has discovered that 65 percent of millennial parents believe shopping in-store enables them to more effectively remain within budget goals compared to shopping online. These parents plan to do the majority, 72 percent on average, of back-to-school shopping in a store rather than online this year.

“More millennials are entering parenthood, which is having a profound impact on retailers,” said Leslie McNamara, managing director and executive vice president of business and market development for Citi Retail Services. “These parents place tremendous value on their children’s opinions when shopping and are not as swayed by brand on big ticket items like electronics. Retailers can incorporate this into their approach when marketing to millennials, whose habits may defy generalizations as they enter the next stage of their lives.”

The survey indicated that 91 percent of millennial parents feel that they consider their child’s opinion when back-to-school shopping more than their parents did when they were young. This stat is revealing, and signals to retailers that new parents are increasingly leaning on their children's recommendations and input for back-to-school products.

Other key findings, include:

More than budgeting, why Millennial parents choose in-store

Sticking to a budget is key, but it’s not the only reason millennial parents prefer shopping in-store. The top reasons are:

  • To test items, such as trying on clothing or testing electronics (63 percent)
  • To include their child in decisions on what to buy (60 percent)
  • To more easily compare products (48 percent)
  • To get better deals (43 percent)

This year’s back to school shopping season to last longer than expected

The survey revealed that millennial parents do not view back-to-school shopping as exclusively limited to the summer before school starts. Nine out of ten parents expect to buy some items after their child’s first day of class. On average, they anticipate having more than a quarter (27 percent) of their back-to-school shopping left after the first day of school. Furthermore, these parents do not expect to have bought their last item until four weeks after the start date, which can mean back-to-school shopping remains a priority for parents into the fall months.

Many millennial parents see value in extending the back-to-school shopping season. The top reasons they wait to make purchases include:

  • Spreading out purchases helps with budgeting (60 percent)
  • To save money (41 percent)
  • Their child likes to see what other kids are wearing or using first (30 percent)

Brands are less influential when it comes to the latest gadgets

Brand names can be important to kids, but the areas where brand matters most to parents may surprise you. The back-to-school items where millennial parents value the brand most are:

  • School supplies, such as notebooks or pens (31 percent)
  • Apparel, such as clothing or shoes (28 percent)
  • Electronics, such as a computer, tablet or smartphone (23 percent)

More to learn

“Millennial parents are still relatively new in the back-to-school market, so it is important that retailers evaluate and shape their retail experience to reflect how these parents actually approach shopping,” said McNamara. “Perception is key when understanding this demographic, and when it comes to factors like budgeting, the length of the season and child-input, there is still much to uncover with respect to the rationale and thinking of millennial parents.”

Citi Retail Services delivers consumer and commercial credit card products, both private label and co-brand, to retailers and their clients across North America. Backed by the global power of Citi, the business serves nearly 90 million accounts for a number of iconic brands, including Best Buy, ExxonMobil, Macy's, Sears, Shell and The Home Depot. Citi Retail Services offers cutting-edge digital options, multi-channel retailing expertise and industry-leading data analytics capabilities that help retailers from a broad range of industries grow their businesses.

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