Millennials have distinctive buying habits, new study finds

Millennials --- the roughly 79 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 34 --- favor brands that have Facebook pages and mobile websites; millennials are more likely to shop for groceries at convenience stores than middle-age folks, and they are more receptive to cause marketing campaigns.

Those are some of the findings from a new survey conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, the marketing services firm Barkley, and Service Management Group.

As for the perception that millennials are lazy consumers, that’s way off base.


“Don’t believe the hype that millennials consume less than previous generations,’’ Christine Barton, a partner at Boston Consulting Group, said in a statement. “On average, US millennials already shell out and influence the spending of hundreds of billions of dollars annually -- an amount that will only increase as they mature into their peak earning and spending years.”

Get Talking Points in your inbox:
An afternoon recap of the day’s most important business news, delivered weekdays.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Not surprising perhaps, millennials spend a lot on technology. Many millennials own multiple devices such as smartphones, computer tablets, and gaming systems.

When it comes to buying products, millennials put a premium on speed, ease, efficiency, and convenience in all their transactions, the study said. As a result, they’re frequent shoppers at convenience stores.

One way to reach this group is through cause marketing, the study found. Millennials are far more receptive to cause marketing campaigns than middle-age consumers.

As part of this study, 4,000 millennials were surveyed. To get a sense of context and contrast, another 1,000 consumers between the ages of 35 and 74 were also surveyed.


So what to do all these findings about millennials mean for companies and brands?

“For some, a fundamental reinvention may be in order,” said a press release from the three firms conducting the study.

A story in today’s Globe recounts how the restaurant chain Bertucci’s is undertaking just such an effort. Looking to woo younger customers, Bertucci’s is making such changes as offering menu items that encourage sharing.

Chris Reidy can be reached at