Contrary to what industry leaders have been claiming, young adults aren’t doing the majority of their shopping online. 18-25 year-old consumers are sticking to conventional methods of buying retail goods, preferring to make purchases in-person.

Young Adults Online Shopping Habit Overestimated?


The National Retail Federation Student Association at LIM College recently carried out a survey among 18-25 year-olds about their shopping habits, asking them where they shop, how much they spend, and their preferences in shopping methods.Results showed that 68% of 18-25 year-olds would prefer to shop in stores for shoes and apparel rather than online, indicating that these consumers prefer tangibly visualizing items before buying them. Though 66% of shoppers in this age range use the Internet for search and to compare product prices, the final purchase ends up taking place primarily in stores.

Online Shopping Less Advantageous

Vincent Roussel, Marketing Director at the sporting goods store Oxbow, states that “E-commerce has grown enormously in recent years, but hasn’t replaced physical retail shopping.” Although this phenomenon doesn’t hold true for youth who have significant time to devote to shopping and use a variety of means to purchase apparel, shoppers in this age range gravitate to stores for several reasons. Depending on the item, “Online prices are the same as those in stores.” says Mr.Roussel, which doesn’t provide a particular competitive advantage in the case of price similarities.

Youth Are Less Impulsive Than Perceived

In addition to the common misconception that young buyers are doing the majority of their shopping online, the results from the survey also show that 18-25 year-olds are not as impulsive as one would believe. 66% of shoppers in this age range prefer to spend time thinking about their purchase before buying it. Moreover, 56% of 18-25 year-olds make in-store purchases by using debit cards as opposed to credit cards. In spite of youth having a reputation of not being judicious, this survey indicates a more frugal attitude amongst them when it comes to personal shopping.

By Marcus Burke