Despite the Online Boom, More Than Half of All Millennials Still Prefer to Shop in Physical Stores

This is the millennial moment. The group of Americans between the ages of 22 and 37 are on the cusp of surpassing baby boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation, according to population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau. Next year, their numbers will swell to 73 million while boomers decline to 72 million. Millennials have grown up, and they’re building careers, purchasing homes and starting families. So it’s no surprise that brands and marketers are pulling out all the stops to win over these powerful consumers.

Although they are a notoriously difficult generation to pin down, a new study by Roth Capital Partners reveals some surprising insights into how and where millennials shop, their go-to brands, their social media habits and more. Polling a group of 2,500 women and men, the survey found that while two-thirds of millennials like to research significant purchases online, 57 percent still prefer to transact at physical stores. They’re also big Amazon fans: Millennials significantly favor the e-tail giant over other online stores, and a staggering 62 percent are Amazon Prime members.

Nike, Adidas and Vans are their go-to footwear brands, while Gucci is a luxury favorite. Nike’s controversial Colin Kaepernick ad campaign resonated strongly, with 34 percent of millennials reporting they are more likely to purchase Swoosh products because of it.

Not surprisingly, millennials are embracing tech innovations in a big way. More than one-third have an Amazon Echo, Google Home or similar device, and 24 percent use them regularly to make purchases. Fifteen percent have used virtual reality to evaluate furniture purchases, while 16 percent have experimented with virtual mirrors to try on makeup or clothing. And millennials are not overly concerned with privacy. Only 26 percent are not OK with sharing personal information for a more personalized experience, and the vast majority are happy to receive recommendations from companies such as Amazon, Netflix and Spotify.

“Millennials value authenticity, transparency and the ability to access their favorite brands seamlessly across multiple channels. The most disruptive consumer brands offer this and are increasingly being sought after by large corporate acquirers who often lack this expertise,” said Paul Zaffaroni, managing director and head of consumer investment banking at Roth.

Interestingly, while millennials are a generation that many perceive as being constantly glued to their digital devices, more than half have cut back their social media usage in the last year, believing it is unhealthy. Perhaps they’re spending all of that extra time working up a sweat: According to Roth’s survey, more than half of millennials belong to gyms and fitness clubs, while 26 percent attend boutique classes such as CrossFit and SoulCycle.

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