Understanding how the generations shop

Updated: Mar 11, 2020

It is likely that your showroom serves a variety of clients in all different age groups. It's impossible to build a showroom that only targets one generation of people and why would you want to? The role of a decorative plumbing showroom is to invite and support homeowners of all ages and income levels!

What do you know about the unique ways each generation shops? This cheat sheet gives you a glimpse into the buying habits of homeowners at different stages in life. Instead of changing the showroom around, think about ways to change your customer service and marketing techniques. Knowing a little more about generation-specific habits can help you connect with your customers.

Boomers 1946-1964

Renovating to age in place

Home Renovation Annual Spend: $15,000

Favorite Social Platforms : Facebook

Baby boomers, or boomers as they're know in marketing research, have the spending power to buy without bargain-hunting. They are also comfortable researching and shopping online but prefer to buy in-store. In fact, 84% of boomers prefer to shop in store and 67% will go to a physical store even if the same item is available online.

So why the preference for physical locations? That’s where boomers find the customer service experience they value above good deals and convenience. They want to speak with a real person when deciding on a purchase and expect sales associates to have a certain level of expertise.

Takeaways for showrooms: boomers will stop patronizing a brand or store if they have a bad customer service experience. They're not sensitive to social media ads or promos and are not easily influenced by posts from friends and family. What does influence boomers? A brand's popularity can sway them to buy one item over another.

Gen X 1965-1980

Entering prime remodel phase and spending on quality

Home Renovation Annual Spend: $15,000

Favorite platforms: Facebook and Email

Gen Xers are the researchers of the bunch, typically spending their pre-purchase time reading about products, investigating flyers, checking reviews, asking for the opinions of friends and family and visiting several stores before making a decision.

Gen Xers rely heavily on sales associates for advice and product reviews. Most importantly, negative reviews about a product’s performance will cause Gen Xers to shy away from a product.

Takeaways for showrooms: Honesty pays off; make sure reviews are available and Gen X clients can expect a transparent assessment from sales staff. Gen Xers like coupons and personalized offers based on previous buying behavior. They also respond very well to email marketing as it is their favorite way to receive shopping information, so you can tighten up you email campaigns to target this age group.



Taking the lead in the home improvement market.

Home Renovation Annual Spend: $10,000

Favorite Platforms: Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram

Millennials are moving into the buying spotlight. They are the first generation that is fully connected via their phones, tablets and computers, using them at all steps in the buying journey (even in physical stores). To target this generation, retailers have made products and services available in as many channels as possible.

Older millennials are more likely to buy online, while younger millennials like to buy in-store. No matter where they buy, there is a challenge facing millennials. The options are overwhelming when you take into account the sheer amount of online and offline offerings, so millennials have developed a different way of making purchases. Research is important and enjoyed by millennials, but this group says that word-of-mouth influences purchases more than almost anything else.

For millennials, shopping is a social event, one to be enjoyed with friends and family. Viewing shopping as a relaxing and enjoyable activity, millennials do not enjoy pushy marketing tactics. Like boomers and Gen Xers, millennials prefer in-store help from knowledgeable sales associates.

Takeaways for showroom: Millennials seek out product reviews and customer experiences, which are more influential that advice from friends and family. They also appreciate interactive events like classes and cooking demos. While millennials appreciate a good deal, they see the value in spending on quality and aesthetics.

Gen Z

1998-2010 Likely to buy homes before 30

Home Renovation Annual Spend: $7,000

Favorite Platforms : Instagram, Snapchat

This generation of shoppers isn’t on the radar yet in terms of buying power. Few people in this generation have become homeowners, but in the next 5 to 10 years, this will undoubtedly change.

Gen Zers buy differently. They like deals and will wait for them; they will even delay purchases until the next version of product is released. As a generation that has always been connected and does not remember a world without internet and smartphones, Gen Zers are incredibly savvy online shoppers. They love to read and provide reviews and like to act as unofficial brand ambassadors.

Gen Zers are especially skeptical of advertisements and respond to open, transparent communication from the brands they patronize. They’re also less brand loyal and will shop for second-hand items is it means they can spend less and have something new to post about.

Takeaways for showrooms: Gen Zers like the instant gratification that comes from buying in-person. Like millennials, Gen Zers enjoy the buy online/pick up in-store option, which is becoming more and more popular with major brands and smaller retailers.

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