Shopping Habits: A Millenial vs. A Baby Boomer


At Sharn Enterprises, Inc., our goal is to design and manufacture a custom POP display that fits your marketing and visual merchandising needs.  We also find it a best practice to stay current with industry and shopping trends.  How better to do so than to interview two ends of the shopping spectrum; our resident 23 year-old fashionista/Marketing Intern Chelsey Heft, and the president of Sharn Enterprises, Inc./POP expert, Roger Wandersee.  These two have many reasons to go out shopping, and some reasons intertwine and others differ.  One thing both parties have in common? Find out for yourself below:

 (#1)  How would you describe yourself as a shopper and consumer?

Female Millennial: I am the type of person who is organized, goal-oriented and also happens to shop on a regular basis.  You could say I am your typical “girly-girl” but I am very simplistic; I enjoy the simple things in life. When it comes to the color of my clothing, I usually stick with neutral colors that don’t stand out.   What I purchase also depends on where I am shopping at and how it’s presented.

Male Baby Boomer: I am an “aging male baby boomer” and since I am in business, I try my best to stay current.  I try to look as good as I can for my age, but my wife buys most of my clothes and other necessities because she has much better taste than me.

(#2) What kind of “mood” are you in when you shop for different occasions, and how does that affect your choice?

FM: There are times when I go out shopping and I don’t exactly need clothing; it’s more along the lines of household items. Whenever I am out shopping for household items, I find that if I have a budget, I always end up going a tad over.  I go for the name brands and the quality rather than what is the cheapest on the shelf.  Same goes for shoes and clothing.

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MBB: I don’t like to shop for my own clothes, because I’m not good at it.  So when I do shop for myself, I’m usually not happy about it.  Surprisingly, I like to grocery shop.  I suppose that’s because I like to eat.  I often ask my wife if she needs anything from the grocery store, so I get what’s on her list and a bunch of other stuff that I just saw and wanted.

(#3) Regarding clothing, I noticed that some stores put matching women’s outfits together, while other stores don’t.  How does that affect you while shopping?

FM: If there is an area in the store that is well put together, it is more likely that I will lean towards that brand because of how the company has put their products on display.  If I cannot find any other outfits that “speak” to me, then I am probably going to move on.

MBB: I really prefer clothing stores that put matching products together.  I’m kind of a guy who needs to see something together to “get it.” If I have to figure out a match, I usually pick out one piece, and then ask the sales person to help me match it.

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(#4) When shopping, do you find it helpful when a sales associate is there to help? Many large stores have done away with it.

FM: Most times I don’t need help finding clothing or outfits that go together.  However, when it comes to fixing up a room in my house, I definitely ask for help.  It is nice to know that associates in stores are willing and able to help. With smaller boutiques, I’ve noticed the employees are very willing to help you right when you walk in.

MBB: I resent not being helped! I don’t much care for “self-serve.” It seems like only the “high-end” or home improvement stores offer individual help anymore. If I’m not looking for help, I will shop online.

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(#5) What are your views on shopping online?

FM: I don’t like shopping online.  You never really know what you’re going to get until you’ve already received it.  However, if I do shop online for a product, I always read the reviews.  If you don’t read the reviews, you could end up with a bad product.  I find that when purchasing items via the internet, American-made items are one’s that last much longer, compared to the items that are made elsewhere.  I feel that when purchasing an American-made product, it is money well spent!

MBB: I like to shop on the internet if I’m looking for a specific product and likely won’t have questions.  Such things as a book, flowers, candy, etc. that you’re sending to someone as a gift are examples.  Most of my internet shopping is around Christmas.  If I know exactly what I want to buy, then I just go online and get it. It helps me avoid the malls.

(#6) Are you willing to pay more for convenience and the speed of the transaction?

FM: If I am in a rush and need to be in and out rather quickly, sure, I will spend a little more. On any other given day, I would have to say that I wouldn’t spend more because of the convenience.  You never want to buy something just because “you had to have it.” Always keep in mind the longevity of the product, clothing item, and/or shoes being bought.

MBB: Being a “baby boomer,” price is not important.  As you know from the news media, we “baby boomers” only care about ourselves! (Just kidding) Of course price is important, but like most other people, I will pay a little more sometimes for convenience.

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(#7) How important is the visual and what attracts you to a particular product?

FM: If there is a good display that makes the clothing look more enticing, that is what causes me to think “Wow, I want to buy that!” There is great importance to being visual. Just like with food, we eat with our eyes first.  If we see something that looks appealing, we are more likely to eat it or in this case, purchase it.

MBB: Many of us old guys lack imagination, so the visual is very important to us. We like to see how things go together, or perhaps how they work. Many displays now come with some type of video that helps demonstrate the product. A well thought-out display is also good for the merchant because it keeps the products together and utilizes valuable store space.

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(#8) When do you “roam” a store versus getting in then getting out? Why?

FM: When I know I am on a time crunch, I am in and out and get what I need.  On the flip side, when I know that I have time, I roam around and do some window shopping.  It’s always nice to be able to walk and look around.  In a sense, it’s almost relaxing.

MBB: I only roam around when I grocery shop. I’m looking for that next best thing for the grill, or the special snack I want after dinner.

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As a business, it’s important to know your customers. Who do you appeal to?

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For more information about our products and services, please visit our website at www.sharndisplays.com  

“A Proud American Manufacturer”

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