2017 Fashion Shopping Habits Survey: How Generation Z, Millennials Shop
About the Author
Founder and CEO of Dealspotr / ZipfWorks. Creating tomorrow's digital ecosystem for deals. Working towards connecting brands, influencers, and shoppers in exciting new ways.
Generation Z - also called "Millennials on steroids" - are now graduating from college and entering the workforce. How does the first truly digital native generation shop for fashion? How are Millennials shopping these days? How do these trends compare to older shoppers? We wanted to find out, and gained some valuable insights in our annual 2017 fashion shopping habits survey.
About the survey
In March 2017, Dealspotr conducted a non-scientific survey of around 300 shoppers across all age groups to learn about their fashion shopping habits. Respondents were visitors to fashion-related pages on the Dealspotr.com website.
We categorized age groups in the following segments:
- Generation Z (ages 20 and younger)
- Millennials (ages 21 to 35)
- Generation X (ages 36 to 52)
- Baby Boomers (ages 53 and over)
Respondents were primarily females, although a meaningful number of male responses were included. It should be noted that since this survey was conducted on the Dealspotr website, it is representative of shoppers who are pre-qualified to be interested in coupons.
What we learned about fashion shopping behaviors in 2017
Across Age Groups, Shoppers "Window Shop" Primarily on their phones
- Teens are most likely to browse fashion on primarily their phones, with 47% responding that they do most (50% of more) of their "window shopping" for fashion on their phones.
- Millennials, GenXers, and Boomers browsed through a wider variety of shopping methods, but phones were still a popular method, with 39% of Millennials and 37% of GenX + Boomers saying they do most of their fashion browsing on their phones.
However, when it comes to Making purchases, Shopping in-store still dominates
- Purchasing in-store is still the most popular method to make purchases across all age groups, although younger shoppers show a stronger preference to in-store purchases than older ones.
- Purchases on laptop / tablets was the next most popular option, with older shoppers (GenX + Boomers) showing the strongest preference for buying via traditional websites.
- Purchasing on phones was least popular option, with Millennials showing the strongest preference.
Teens are most likely to buy in-Store, While Older SHoppers are most likely to buy online or via Phone
- Generation Z (teen) shoppers showed the strongest preference to making actual purchases in-store vs. online or on their phones.
- Generation X and Boomer shoppers showed the strongest preference towards making purchases via laptops and tablets.
- Millennials showed stronger preference than other age groups to fulfill transactions for fashion on their phones.
Surprising observation: Teens most likely to "reverse showroom" or "webroom"
"Webrooming" or "reverse showrooming" is a shopping pattern in which a shopper researches a purchase online or via phone, then comes into the store to make the purchase. Teens showed the strongest preference of all age groups to prefer this pattern for shopping when it came to fashion.
Fashion brand preferences
Amazon is the most Popular Retailer for buying fashion
- Amazon is the clear leader in fashion shopping across age groups.
- Amazon's dominance is very pronounced among Millennials and GenX / Boomer shoppers. Among these demographics, Amazon is by a wide margin the most popular way to buy clothing.
- Among teens, Amazon is among the top choices, but was slightly less popular than fast fashion brands H&M and Forever 21.
Fast fashion retailers are still Dominant among younger shoppers
- H&M and Forever 21 lead as the most preferred fashion retailers for teens and Millennials.
- Fast fashion retailers are most dominant among teens, are still the #1 choice for Millennials (although discount department stores are also popular among this demographic). Fashion fashion retailers are not popular among GenX + Boomer shoppers.
- American Eagle and Urban Outfitters are standouts among teen shoppers, they performed disproportionately well among Generation Z respondents.
Among Department stores, Only discounters are thriving
- Department stores performed poorly among teens and Millennial shoppers. Department stores performed well among older (GenX and Boomer) shoppers, with Target, Kohl's, Nordstrom, Macy's, and TJ Maxx topping the list.
- Target was a standout among department stores, and is popular among Millennials and GenX + Boomers.
- Among department stores, only discounters Target (and to a lesser extent TJ Maxx) performed well among Millennials and teens.
- Luxury department stores (Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's) performed poorly. They ranked among the bottom for teens and Millennials, and only Nordstrom performed well among Genx and Boomers.
Opportunities for retailers to capture share
- Among teens, H&M, Amazon, and Forever 21 had greatest potential to increase share by making improvements to their discounts offered, inventory, and mobile apps.
- Teens showed strong interest in better coupons from American Eagle, Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom.
- Among Millennials, more compelling coupons and discount offers from Amazon and Nordstrom would convince them to shop more.
- Millennials showed interest in shopping more at Target and Old Navy if they offered more stylish inventory.
Generation X and Baby Boomers
- Among older shoppers (36+), they expressed an interest in shopping more frequently at Amazon, Nordstrom, Target and Macy's if they offered better coupons.
- Baby boomers and GenX'ers would shop more at JC Penney, Kohl's, and Gap if they offered more stylish inventory.
Details on fashion brand preferences
Which fashion brands do shoppers prefer, across age groups?
- H&M, Forever 21, and Amazon were the most popular fashion retailers for teens.
- Amazon (by far), H&M, Target, and Forever 21 were most popular for Millennials.
- Amazon (by far), Target, Kohl's, Nordstorm, Macy's, and TJ Maxx topped the list for GenXers and Boomers.
Which fashion retailer mobile apps are most Preferred, across age groups?
- Amazon, H&M, and Forever 21, American Eagle were the most popular mobile apps for teens.
- Amazon (by far), H&M, and Forever 21, Target, Nordstrom were the most popular mobile apps for Millenials.
- Amazon (by far), Norstrom, and Kohl's, H&M, Macy's where the most popular mobile apps for GenX and Boomers. With GenX and Boomers, H&M mobile app overperformed and Forever 21 mobile app underperformed.
Which fashion retailers are perceived as offering the best coupons and discounts?
- Forever 21, Amazon, and American Eagle, Kohl's, H&M offered best coupons according to Generation Z shoppers.
- Kohl's, Amazon, and Target, Forever 21, Macy's offered best coupons according to Millennials.
- Kohl's (by far), JC Penney, Macy's offered best coupons for older shoppers (GenX and Boomers).
What percentage of your "window shopping" for fashion do you do on your phone?
- Among all age groups, at least 30% of respondents indicated that they do most of their "window shopping" for fashion on their phones.
- This behavior was most pronounced among teens, with 47% indicating that they do most of their fashion browsing on their phones.
What percentage of your apparel shopping purchases do you do on your phone?
- Fulfilling fashion purchases on their phones was the least preferred way to buy across all age groups.
- Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers showed stronger preference for buying on their phones relative to teens.
What percentage of your apparel shopping purchases do you do on your computer, laptop, or tablet?
- Buying via website on a laptop or tablet was the second most popular method of fulfilling purchases across age groups.
- Older shoppers showed the strongest preference for buying via computer or tablet compared to other age groups.
What percentage of your apparel shopping purchases do you do in-Store?
- Making purchases in-store was the most popular method of fulfilling purchases across age groups.
- Teen shoppers showed the strongest preference for buying in-store compared to other age groups.
Which qualities are most important in a fashion retailer?
- Across age groups, shoppers look for good value for the price as the most important attribute in a fashion shopping retailer.
- Compared to teens, Millennials and GenX + Boomer shoppers look for a good return policy as a primary characteristic in a fashion retailer.
- Teens showed a stronger preference towards good coupons as a primary criteria for choosing a fashion retailer.
This guide was published on April 14, 2017, and last modified on April 14, 2017.