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Report: Millennials Aren’t That Different from Other Generations

Forget what you heard about Millennials: Just because they check their phones around 43 times a day, as a recent SDL survey said, doesn’t mean they shop online any differently than older generations.

Make no mistake, the 18-34 crowd is hyper-connected and tech-obsessed, but according to a new report from marketing firm Adroit Digital, both Millennials and those aged 35 and older do the majority of their retail browsing in-store—57 percent and 61 percent respectively—suggesting that marketers should segment shoppers based on behavior, not demographic.

“Our study shows that, in many instances, Millennials don’t shop or respond to digital advertising any differently than their older counterparts,” Jacob Ross, president of the New York-based company, said in a statement. “This indicates that behavioral data is a better predictor of how someone will respond to a message than age alone.”

Adroit surveyed 1,000 Millennials and 500 35-plus consumers in the United States and Canada in April and May of this year for the study titled “Marketing to Millennials: Do They Really Shop Differently Online than Gen X and Boomers?” and found that older generations are every bit as likely (52 percent) as younger folks (55 percent) to click on a mobile ad over a desktop ad.

Other findings revealed that the buying decisions of 55 percent of Millennials and 54 percent of Gen X and Boomers are influenced by online review sites. Digital advertising, meanwhile, affects around three-quarters of both generations—with mobile ads grabbing the most attention—and if those promos include deals or discounts, 77 percent of consumers aged 18-34 and 73 percent of older shoppers would make an unplanned purchase.

But brands and retailers should be wary of bombarding Millennials with remarketing efforts: 83 percent feel pestered by ads after they’ve been to a site for the same or similar merchandise, compared to 77 percent of those 35-plus, which could lead to negative association.

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To that end, Adroit said the key to connecting with consumers of all ages and increasing the success rate of marketing campaigns is using a mix of first-, second- and third-party data.

“We believe strongly in the power of second-part data cooperatives—first-party data shared from many advertisers. Second-party data gives advertisers accurate and valuable insights that combine the quality of first-party data with the scale of third-party data,” Ross explained. “In an era of data in walled gardens that only benefits the owner, we subscribe to what we learned on the grade school playground: play nicely with others and everyone wins.”