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'Generation Z' Is Poised To Drive A Surge In E-Commerce Growth

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26 January 2015, 5:55 pm by: Cooper Smith

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It's important for retailers to know who their potential customers are online — and what they're interested in — to market to them effectively. 

BI Intelligence finds that there are surprising and important differences in behavior depending on gender, age (especially for Generation Z), income, and education. Generation Z, those aged 18 to 24, spends almost one in ten of their dollars online.

And they are spending a much higher proportion of their income online compared to other generations. 

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Here are some of the most important stats about who shops online, and how:

Age: Despite having relatively low incomes, millennials, those consumers aged 18 to 34, remain the key age demographic for online commerce, are spending more money online in a given year than any other age group. They spend around $2,000 annually on e-commerce.  Age: Despite having ultra-low incomes, Generation Z, those aged 18 to 24, spends the highest share of their income online: 9%. As they age and make more money, that will drive big gains in e-commerce growth. (See chart, above.) Age: Boomers and seniors are not only shopping offline. They are pretty mobile-savvy. They have adopted mobile commerce. One in four mobile shoppers in the U.S. is over the age of 55. That's about even with their share of the overall U.S. population.  Gender: The conventional wisdom is that women drive shopping trends, since they control up to 80% of household spending. However, when it comes to e-commerce, men drive nearly as much spending online in the U.S. as women. Gender: Men are more likely to make purchases on mobile devices.  22% of men made a purchase on their smartphones last year, compared to 18% of women.  Gender: Many men want to buy everything online: 40% of men aged 18-34 say they would ideally "buy everything online," compared to only 33% of women in the same age group. Income: Online shoppers tend to live in households with higher-than-typical incomes. An Experian survey found that 55% of e-commerce shoppers in the U.S. live in households with incomes above $75,000. 

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In full, the report:

Explains why men are so much more important for e-commerce retail, compared to in-store, and why they are more likely to buy on smartphones than women.  Indexes e-commerce spending by age group against the amount of time a given demographic spends online. Breaks down online spending habits of teens, including the brands and products they shop for.  Examines the factors behind what drives online purchases among millennials. Identifies Gen X, boomer, and older consumers' online spending tendencies. Looks at how education and income influence e-commerce spending.

For full access to all BI Intelligence's reports, charts, and newsletters covering the e-commerce industry, sign up and get started. 

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