How are millennials approaching e-commerce?

Millennials’ growing influence in the e-commerce sector is beginning to have drastic effects on the nature of the global retail market.


As millennials edge towards becoming the largest group of consumers on the planet, it’s no surprise that they have a direct influence over the trends shaping modern businesses and technologies.

In particular, this group is beginning to drastically reshape the retail industry. What used to be able to survive solely in the physical world is now being dramatically altered by digital trends and desires, with most stores now dependent on some form of e-commerce to survive.

Analysts at BDO covered these trends in its Real Estate Monitor Newsletter for Summer 2015, and found that millennial shoppers expressed specific traits that are unique to their age range.

Surprisingly, despite the fact these consumers are known as being up-to-date on with all the latest technology, BDO says as shoppers they are “thrifty”. The firm attributes this to them coming of age during the global financial crisis, meaning they usually have their eye out for coupons on discounts – something e-commerce stores can use to their advantage.

The “tech-savvy” nature of the millennial shopper won’t be a surprise to anyone, but BDO says retail stores should not merely be acknowledging this, but reacting to it as well. If stores wish to corner this market, they should be finding ways to smoothly integrate online and physical experiences so they complement each other.

This doesn’t mean that pre-existing stores should necessarily abandon their physical location however, as research from OpinionLab found that millennials actually prefer mall shopping to the online equivalent. In a 2014 survey, 37 per cent of millennials indicated that going to a mall was their favourite place to shop, ahead of online stores at 27 per cent.

The growing role of e-commerce brought about by millennials’ desires is likely to continue to alter as the boundaries between digital and physical commerce break down.