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Shoppers of All Ages Spend Big on Amazon, But Are Eager to Return to Stores

The philosophical divisions between different generations may seem more pronounced than ever, but new data shows that consumers of all ages have more similarities than differences.

A study released by Amazon selling platform Jungle Scout last week revealed that online shoppers of all ages—from Gen Z to the silent generation—agree on their three favorite e-commerce sites.

Amazon is “far and away” the most popular site among all consumers, analysts said, while Walmart and eBay emerged as the second and third most loved online stores. Three-quarters of Gen Z, millennial and Gen X shoppers ranked Amazon as their favorite marketplace.

The three youngest generations spend the most on the platform, with 42 percent of Gen Zers saying they shop on the site at least once a week, and 47 percent of millennials and 39 percent of Gen Xers citing the same frequency.

Regardless of age, consumers pointed to competitive pricing and consumer reviews as the reason they keep coming back to the online titan.

While baby boomers don’t shop on Amazon as often as their younger counterparts, they are willing to spend the most money. Twenty-two percent of boomers said they would spend between $251-500 on a single product. Comparatively, 22 percent of millennials and 31 percent of Gen Z shoppers said they were willing to shell out between $101-250 for a particularly coveted item.

Notably, Gen X, which boasts the highest average household income of any generation, is willing to spend the least on the site. About one-fifth (22 percent) of Gen X shoppers said they would be willing to spend a maximum of $51-$100 for a single item on Amazon.

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Despite having slightly different relationships with Amazon and online shopping, COVID-19 has impacted most consumers’ views on finances. Gen Z, millennials, Gen X, baby boomers and the silent generation all reported a renewed awareness of money matters since the virus hit, admitting to decreases in overall spending.

More than half of Gen Zers (the lowest-paid cohort outside of the silent generation, who are mostly retired) said they had cut back on spending since the virus hit. About one-fifth (23 percent) said they had slashed their budgets by more than half.

More than half of both millennial and Gen X respondents also reported tightening their purse strings, but one in every four shoppers from these generations also reported that they have been able to maintain pre-pandemic spending habits.

About three-quarters of millennials and Gen X shoppers believe that in the future, the majority of purchases will take place online. More than half of all millennials are fine with the idea of commerce being totally web-driven, though slightly fewer Gen Xers (43 percent) and Gen Zers (41 percent) said the same.

Predictably, non-digitally-native generations are nonplussed by the idea of e-commerce being the only option. Sixty percent of baby boomers and 69 percent of the silent generation said they would not be happy with online-only shopping.

While the generations are split on their overall enthusiasm for online shopping, they all agree that they’re ready for a post-pandemic physical retail therapy session.

The research shows that Gen Zers are the most eager to get back to the stores, with 64 percent saying they can’t wait to go shopping after the lockdown lifts.

More than 60 percent of millennials and members of the silent generation said they felt the same way, while 59 percent of Gen X said they were ready for a return to brick-and-mortar. Only half of baby boomer respondents said they were excited about the prospect of in-person shopping, perhaps due to lingering fears about the spread of the coronavirus.

While the two youngest generations—millennials and Gen Z—are the most comfortable all around with online shopping, they’re also the most likely demographics to decrease their e-commerce spend once stores begin to open. Nearly three-fifths of boomers and silent generation respondents said their online spending won’t change, while half of Gen X respondents said the same.

But no matter what the new normal looks like for retail, store openings won’t impact shoppers’ strong dependence on Amazon.

One in 10 members of the silent generation said their spending on the site could increase by one-quarter after retail stores are back in business, while 45 percent of the group said they would be maintaining current spending habits.

Boomers are also quite likely to maintain the status quo after physical stores reopen, with 60 percent saying they’ll maintain their shopping habits on the site. About half of Gen X shoppers said the same, while 45 percent of millennials and 42 percent of Gen Zers said they would continue to shop the site with unchanged frequency.