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Study Reveals Similarities Between Millennials & Boomers

NEW YORK -- A new study by Radius Global Market Research (Radius GMR) found that while there are certain differences between Millennials and Boomers -- as expected -- there are also significant similarities.

According to the study, the top similarities between Millennials (aged 18 to 32) and Boomers (aged 49 to 67) are:

  • New media and technology are not just for the young. An overwhelming number of both Millennials (90 percent) and Boomers (86 percent) routinely research products online. Boomers and Millennials are also both engaging via social media at healthy rates. Female Boomers and Millennials use Facebook at a nearly identical rate (90 percent). In addition, streaming movies and TV programming is a reality for both Millennials (77 percent) and Boomers (40 percent).
  • Millennials and Boomers have similar concerns when making purchases. Both focus primarily on quality or price/value, depending on the category.
  • Millennials and Boomers have the same habits when it comes to where they shop. Retail is the prominent channel for buying most everyday packaged goods, apparel and electronics.

The study also found the top differences between the two generations are:

  • Millennial consumers are more optimistic. They have a more favorable outlook on the economy (71 percent) and were more apt to maintain/increase spending during the recession (55 percent).
  • Millennials and Boomers have different buying priorities. Millennials place travel and apparel as their top two priorities for increased spending in 2014. Boomers are more focused on "necessities" like packaged foods and insurance.
  • Boomers and Millennials access product information differently. While product research via personal computer is high with both groups, 60 percent of Millennials research via smartphone vs. only 14 percent of Boomers. Boomers are twice as likely at 38 percent to research in newspapers or magazines.
  • Word-of-mouth sways Millennials. Younger consumers rank word-of-mouth most influential as they make purchase decisions across all categories. Boomers tend to rely on advertising and advice from sales reps.

"While it is beneficial to understand the similarities and differences between generational groups, it is also important for marketers to look beyond these overarching categories," said Radius GMR Senior Vice President Lesley Brooks. "Nuances such as gender require at least as much attention when it comes to engaging both Boomers and Millennials."

Radius GMR's study surveyed U.S. households in the third quarter of 2013. The firm's proprietary Know More Internet panel represents more than 3.4 million households, with more than 6 million consumers in the United States. New York-based Radius GMR partners with global marketers to develop insights-based business strategies that drive brand performance.

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