Women across the millennial, generation X and baby boomer demo groups certainly have their clear differences but they also have some surprising similarities in areas such as communication preferences, social media habits, shopping behavior and technology, and a new study by SheSpeaks offers marketers some valuable insight in those areas.
SheSpeaks is an engagement platform that connects female influencers to brands that enables marketers to create more compelling, targeted content. It lists among its clients companies such as P&G, Citibank and L’Oreal.
This latest study was conducted nationally via an online survey of 3,300 U.S. women within the millennial, generation X and baby boomer demos. Aliza Freud, founder and CEO of SheSpeaks, says, “Given how many brands have products that target across these generational groups, we thought it was important to share these new insights. Our hope is that brands can use these finding to build successful marketing and content programs, as well as to create efficiencies across media and communications efforts.”
Overall, the study finds that the generational divide may not be so wide after all. But there are some distinct differences mixed in with the similarities.
For instance, within the area of communications—29% of millennial women are most likely to use their mobile phones to do personal email vs. only 7% of boomer women; and 79% of boomers are most likely to use their desktops/laptops for personal email, compared to 61% of millennials.
In other findings, 72% of millennial women video chat, compared to 53% of boomer women. Millennial women are also more likely to text on a daily basis compared to boomers (32% to 21%). Boomer women each day are more likely to email (16% compared to 5% of millennials) and talk on the phone (18% compared to 4% for millennial women) as the preferred way to stay in touch.
Millennial woman also “strongly agree” that they are concerned about privacy online, but only 21% of millennials and 17% of gen X women have an anonymous social media account, the study found.
Women of all generations visit Facebook at least once a week, making up 91% of those surveyed, but millennial women are more active on Pinterest (68%), Twitter (64%), YouTube (60%), and Instagram (57%).
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What do millennial women share on social media? Eighty-three percent share a mix of family photos; 73% share observations or stories about their daily lives; and 52% share stories about local news and weather. On average, the study found, all women spend a large amount of time each day connecting with friends and family via social media.
The study also found that despite age differences, women share similar purchasing habits. For women of all ages, 66% cite a review on a retailer’s website as a primary influence in purchasing a product. And millennial and gen X women are more likely to be influenced to make a purchase if they see a coupon on a social network, a blog review or a photo on Pinterest.
To prepare for in-store shopping, the study found that 74% of women clip coupons or find coupon codes for online shopping. Also, 70% of all women surveyed make a paper list of what they need to buy, 65% research what products are on sale and 52% research product features that will help them make purchasing decisions.
Among millennial women, 72% make purchases on their phones, compared with 65% of gen X women and 38% of boomers, but all generations make the majority of their purchases via desktop or laptop. Also, 81% of boomer women are more likely to make online purchases via desktop or laptop, but the percentages are also high for the other demo groups—76% of gen X women and 74% of millennials.
A couple of other key findings regarding shopping habits—on average 63% of all women generally know which products they will purchase when they visit a store, although brands can vary; and price trumps convenience for all generations totaling 74% of those surveyed.
Millennial (70%) and gen X women (65%) use their smartphones each week as part of their shopping process and 20% of the millennial women surveyed said they plan to make more purchases via their mobile phones in the next six months.
What do millennial women purchase most via their smartphones? Fifty-six percent purchase downloadable music; 48% purchase downloadable books; 41% purchase beauty products; 35% buy toys and games; and 34% purchase general household items.
Millennial woman are also more likely to use their smartphones to play games—36%, compared to 26% of gen X women and 11% of boomers.
The study was conducted from June 16-18 and the full study can be obtained by contacting Carol Milliron, senior VP, client engagement at firstname.lastname@example.org.