Top Shopping Behaviors for Gen X and Boomers

Tim Denman
Editor in Chief
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Catering to the needs of Millennials and Gen Z is critical, but keeping pace with the changing shopping patterns of established generations is equally vital. These older generations wield substantial buying power and can be just as tech savvy as their younger counterparts, and capturing and retaining their loyalty is essential to ongoing success.

New research from Murphy Research and Blackhawk Network highlights the shopping patterns of the older, larger core generations: Gen X and baby boomers.

Both generations regularly buy via multi-channel experiences, with 82% of Gen Xers and Boomers surveyed buying in-store at least monthly, and 46% of Gen Xers and 40 percent of Boomers surveyed shopping online at least monthly.

Both demographics love to research, are the least likely to be influenced by online reviews and the most likely to have groceries delivered.

"While marketers should keep their eyes on Gen Z and Millennials, they shouldn't abandon Gen X and boomers,” said Theresa McEndree, vice president of marketing at Blackhawk Network. “Gen X and Boomers combined still have almost triple the buying power of the younger generations. Older generations prefer well-established shopping channels like in-store and online but are willing to try newer options. For instance, they outpace younger generations in buying groceries online for at-home delivery."

Key research findings include:

  • 82% of Gen Xers and 82% of boomers buy in-store at least monthly.
  • Older generations are more likely than younger generations to research before they buy (50% of Gen Xers and 48% of boomers).
  • Gen Xers and Boomers are less likely than Gen Zers and Millennials to be influenced by personal recommendations and online reviews.
  • Of the four generations surveyed, Gen Xers and Boomers reported the lowest likelihood to use newer shopping, purchase and payment options such as voice recognition (VR) or cashier-less checkout in the future.
  • Nearly one in three Gen Xers and Boomers report shopping online via a computer "all the time."
  • Gen Xers and Boomers are more likely to use laptops and desktop computers than mobile devices.
  • 6-% of the Gen Xers and Boomers have ordered groceries via a laptop or computer for at-home delivery — outpacing younger generations.
  • Gen Xers (70%) and boomers (71%) report purchasing gift cards in the past year and buying them for gift-giving purposes at high rates.
  • When it comes to using gift cards, Gen Xers (86%) and boomers (93%) are more likely to stay loyal to the retailers/brands they've shopped at in the past versus unfamiliar brands.
  • Only 4% of Gen Xers and 1% of boomers purchase gift cards on an impulse.
  • Gen Xers and Boomers spend more on gift cards than younger generations.