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Gen Y and E-Commerce: What’s the Millennial Impact on this Industry?

The first thing worth discussing when it comes to the millennial impact on the industry is the fact that, at the moment, millennials are the largest portion of the world’s workforce. This makes them incredibly financially potent but, due to the fact that this demographic is also quite tech-savvy, it might also make them an ideal audience for the e-commerce trend. So, what exactly is the impact of millennials on the e-commerce industry? Let’s find out!

The purchasing power of the demographic

E-commerce is a concept that is probably the most popular with the Gen Z audience, however, this doesn’t mean that they are its main demographic. Why? Well, mostly because out of all demographic groups that use e-commerce, millennials have the most favorable use-to-purchasing-power ratio. In other words, while Gen Z may go for e-commerce and m-commerce more frequently than their millennial counterparts, their purchasing power and average order value is nowhere near. The growing share of e-commerce in total global retail sales more than testifies about the validity of this claim. Seeing as how between the 2020s and 2040s, millennials are going to be the majority of the global workforce, this hardly comes as a surprise.

Greater number of millennials in positions of power

One more thing worth discussing is the fact that millennials (as people in their 30s) are getting closer and closer to positions of power in some of the world’s most valuable industries. For instance, in the oil industry, a person in their 20s is usually at the entry-level position. In their 30s and early 40s, however, they may start getting more responsible tasks. This is why even retailers specializing in oilfield equipment are taking millennial audiences into account. This means adjusting their marketing approach and design of their e-commerce website to the preferences of millennial audiences.

The use of social media

It goes without saying that the bulk of online traffic that e-commerce sites receive come from various social media platforms. Now, while it is true that platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok have faster growth, the truth is that when it comes to online sales, Facebook is still undisputed. This is due to the above-discussed purchasing power of its target audience. While these fast-growing platforms attract Generation Z, the truth is that millennials are still staying true to Facebook.

Millennial-centric e-commerce techniques

The next thing that will have an impact on e-commerce is the fact that millennials follow their own e-commerce trends, which will make the entirety of the industry adjust in order to accommodate them. For instance, millennials are mobile and they love to share content. This is why planning for social media content that will, later on, grow organically may be a lot more feasible plan than ever before. 

They like to shop around

Millennials are people who grew up during the 2008 economic crisis, which makes them extra cautious about how they spend their money. This is why they’re likely to shop around. When it comes to the criteria that you have to take into consideration, price is the top priority. There is a common misconception that millennials value same- or next-day delivery far more than they do. In fact, the vast majority of them are completely comfortable with waiting for 8 to 10 days for the product, provided that this purchase helps them save money. This is also the main reason why conversion rates are so low in e-commerce. A lot of people will compare prices elsewhere before making a purchase.

Highly susceptible to product reviews

In the past, word of mouth (WOM) was the ultimate tool of product promotion, however, when it comes to millennials in e-commerce, this is definitely not the case. You see, they’re far more likely to trust a product review. In fact, some are even more likely to listen to reviews than their own friends and family members. This is why those brands that can acquire a suitable number of online reviews will have an easy job getting a necessary competitive edge. Getting more online reviews, on the other hand, is a story for another time.


The very last thing worth mentioning is the fact that as Generation Z becomes more financially potent, the ratio of consumers might start shifting towards them. However, even if their share in the profits becomes somewhat smaller, the revenue generated by millennials is bound to grow in the nearest future. This is why it makes sense for e-commerce businesses to heavily focus on millennials.