What Marketers Can Learn from Millennial and Centennial Amazon Shopping Habits
When it comes to e-commerce, no one does it quite like Amazon.com. Earlier this summer, the marketplace giant generated record sales with its third annual Amazon Prime Day, proving its influence and popularity with digitally savvy and increasingly brand-agnostic consumers.
However, not all consumers shop the same. By taking a closer look at how different generations of consumers shop on Amazon, marketers can adapt their own strategies to compete in a competitive and crowded online retail landscape.
One particularly interesting insight is the juxtaposition between millennials (age 22-37) and their younger counterparts — centennials, or those under 21 — when it comes to their Amazon shopping habits.
With a nearly 20 percent differential between the recent Amazon shopping behaviors of centennials and millennials, marketers must take note of these generations’ individual nuances. Yes Lifecycle Marketing found in a recent study that millennials are more likely than any generation to have made a purchase on Amazon in the past month (79 percent), compared to just 62 percent of centennials. Centennials are actually less likely to have made a purchase on Amazon in the past month than Generation X (69 percent).
The explanation for these opposing habits? Among other factors, millennials favor loyalty programs and shop Amazon for the Prime benefits, while centennials said they prefer the in-store experience offered by brick-and-mortar retailers.
Insights into the factors driving centennial and millennial Amazon purchases can help marketers of all sizes reach these increasingly powerful generations with the messaging that resonates best through the most effective channels.
Millennials Are More Loyal Than Any Other Generation
Millennials say they prefer to shop on Amazon because of the benefits associated with Amazon Prime such as fast and free shipping and access to exclusive video content, among other perks. And when it comes to other brands and retailers, 22 percent say they remain loyal strictly for the loyalty program rewards (think: points and exclusive discounts). Overall, millennial brand loyalty is greater than any other generation.
What does this mean for retailers and marketers? Capitalize on millennial loyalty by catering loyalty programs to this generation. This means offering access to exclusive experiences and perks through their preferred channels — email and mobile. Also, take a page from Amazon’s book and consider offering free shipping or other exclusive benefits to your most loyal customers.
Ignore Stereotypes, Centennials Want to Shop In-Store
Despite Amazon’s convenience, low prices and wide product selection, nearly a third (31 percent) of centennials choose not to shop the retailer's site and marketplace because they enjoy an in-store experience. Additionally, centennials shop in-store during the holidays more than any other generation (45 percent).
Since centennials are digital natives, this generation’s desire to shop in-store might come as a shock to marketers. However, while they want to shop in-store, centennials are certainly not ditching their mobile devices and social networks. Marketers should focus on reaching centennials with messaging about exclusive in-store offers and experiences within digital channels, such as Snapchat or mobile push notifications, and do so based on real-time location.
Both Millennials and Centennials Crave Quality Over Price and Selection
One habit is consistent between the two generations: they want quality products. While Amazon is known for low prices and wide product selections, both centennials and millennials describe themselves as quality-first shoppers and customized gift givers.
For marketers, this means a slight shift in messaging can make all the difference. Centennials and millennials are less interested in getting the best deals possible — they want quality. Focus your messaging towards these groups (particularly on email and social) on the quality of your brand and its products, rather than low prices.
As millennial and centennial buying power grows, it’s important for retailers and marketers to understand how to best reach consumers of these ages. A look at centennial and millennial Amazon shopping habits in the wake of Prime Day reveal slightly different shopping preferences. Marketers must adapt accordingly, continue to evaluate the generational trends or risk missing out on a crucial group of consumers.
As Amazon becomes even more of a global powerhouse, its ability to expand the range of its Prime benefits will only continue to grow. This means Prime Day offers in years to come will not only have broader appeal in general, but they will also cater more specifically to individual generational cohorts like centennials and millennials. Moving forward, marketers must consider their own strategies in light of this and look for areas where they can reclaim millennial and centennial market share.
Erin Gade is a marketing strategist at Yes Lifecycle Marketing, a provider of email and digital marketing services.