Clothing is the top category across age andgender. According to the December 2023 Insider Intelligence Ecommerce Survey (conducted by Bizrate Insights), more than half of respondents in each group reported buying clothing online at least once in the past month. In eight of the past 10 quarterly surveys, shoppers ages 35 to 54 have been the demographic most likely to buy clothing online—likely thanks to a combination of greater disposable income and the fact that many are also buying for children and spouses.
Differences in category purchases by generation are driven by different life stages. While buying clothing online may be popular across all generations, other categories (such as accessories, home furniture, and computers/computer accessories) are purchased at higher rates by consumers ages 18 to 34.
Younger generations are getting a later start on adulthood. The percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds living with their parents has increased from 15.0% to 19.7% among men and 8.1% to 12.3% among women since 1990, per the US Census Bureau. Between the rising cost of living, student loan debt, and getting married later in life, many young adults are staying in their parents’ homes longer or returning after school. This also means they’re delaying building out full wardrobes and personal households until they gain more independence and economic stability.
Baby boomers prioritize pharmacy/health products and pet supplies in their top 10 purchases. As an established generation more likely to downsize than dramatically grow their household, boomers have redirected digital purchases toward personal care and their animal companions. Outdoor supplies and pharmacy/health products are two of the few categories that either meet or exceed the index when compared with the total population.
Millennials are most likely to buy groceries online multiple times a week. In our May 2023 US Digital Grocery survey, 29.3% of millennials reported making grocery purchases two or more times per week, compared with 19.1% of Gen Zers. The leading categories millennials preferred to purchase online were grooming and beauty products, pet products, and alcoholic beverages.
Gen Zers may be setting beauty trends on TikTok, but millennials are buying more of the actual products—and more often. Some 34.4% of millennials buy beauty products online at least once a week compared with 21.2% of Gen Zers. In terms of spending, just 5.6% of Gen Zers dropped more than $1,000 in the past year on beauty products versus millennials’ 24.4%—thanks to the older cohort’s growing purchasing power and aging, which may prompt a brand change or an additional product in their skincare routine.