Understand mobile-first Millennial and Gen Z shoppers and how to engage them.

Millennial (those born between the years 1980 and 1995) and Generation Z consumers (born after 1995) are a major driving force in the continual growth of online shopping and mobile commerce. This digitally native audience represents the next generation of shoppers with significant buying power, so it’s important for marketers to understand what makes these shoppers tick and how to best capture their attention.

Here are five key things that brands should keep in mind to stay relevant with Millennial and Gen Z shoppers:

1. They’re mobile-first (…and addicted to their phones)

Over the course of the past decade, consumers across all demographics have grown increasingly dependent on smartphones for their daily routines, but no group is more reliant on mobile than Millennials & Gen Z. 92% of smartphone users are between the ages of 18 to 29, and they’re checking their phones around 86 times per day (compared to 47 times per day reported in all other age groups).

2. They feel comfortable buying online

Millennial and Gen Z shoppers are digital natives. They’ve grown up in a world where interacting with brands online and purchasing through websites or apps has always been commonplace. Shoppers between the ages of 18-34 spend more money online shopping each year than any other age group (around $2,000+ per year). Online shopping, especially through smartphones, offers a level of on-the-go convenience and instant gratification that younger shoppers have come to expect.

3. They are not spending a lot of time opening emails

Younger audiences do not rely as heavily on email for personal or business communications as other generations. Millennial & Gen Z consumers prefer to use text messaging as their main way of communicating with friends and family, and they also want an easy way to interact with brands via text. 68% of Millennials favor mobile messaging over email and phone calls as their first choice for brand interactions. For marketers aiming to reach these consumers where they’re spending the most time, it’s important to consider adding mobile messaging into your marketing mix.

4. They value personalized brand interactions

Millennial and Gen Z shoppers expect the companies they choose to do business with to understand who they are and find ways to cater to their individual preferences. In today’s competitive retail environment where consumers have access to products, reviews, and price comparisons at their fingertips, delivering personalized experiences can give brands a major competitive edge. It’s important for marketers to ensure that when they are able to break through the clutter and connect with their target audiences, they’re doing so with content that’s as relevant as possible in that moment.

5. In-store shopping still matters, but needs a fun twist

Although mobile-first consumers are extremely comfortable making purchases online, they have not forgotten about brick-and-mortar shopping experiences. The keyword here is experiences. Millennial and Gen Z shoppers crave engaging, customized, and memorable in-store interactions. Recently, brands have gotten creative with incorporating unique features and “Instagram-able moments” into their offline channels to more strongly appeal to this demographic. For example, athletic brand Lululemon offers in-store yoga classes once a week, while Unilever’s beauty brand St. Ives created a pop-up shop “mixing bar” where shoppers can blend together a custom product that’s uniquely their own.

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