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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : March 17, 2010

Gen Y to lead shopping recovery

Don't rely on the Boomers to spend us out of the latest recession. While they may have led the way after the previous two, it's now Generation X's and Y's turn, according to new research.

by Helen Leggatt

"The New Consumer Behavior Paradigm: Permanent or Fleeting?," is a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Retail Forward. It looks, in part, at the way economical recovery will be shaped by tech-loving Generation Y and, to a lesser extent, affluent members of Generation X.

So why won't Boomers lead the way out of this recession, as they did the last two? Lisa Feigen Dugal, PricewaterhouseCoopers' U.S. retail and consumer practice leader, told Marketing Daily it's because Boomers have been hit hard during the recession at a time of life when retirement looms, whereas Generation Y and Generation X have more disposable income.

"Without the Boomers leading us out," says Dugal, "we don't have history to rely on. So now marketers are going to have to look to Gen Y and Gen X, groups that are smaller and behave differently."

However, don't expect Generation X and Y to start throwing their money around. The study found these shoppers have a thriftier mindset - they shop around more, look for more deals and engage in far less conspicuous consumption than their parents.

The report concludes that the way forward for retailers is to make promotion and savings-related information more easily accessible to shoppers. The increase of online resources and mobile shopping apps has made it easier than ever for consumers to find a specific item at the best price.

"Companies need to recognize that there will not be a wholesale return to a pre-recession shopping mode and will need to adapt to the changed behaviors and patterns to win in today's changed marketplace," said the report.

Tags: Baby Boomers, consumer behavior, consumer spending, Generation X, Generation Y

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