Millennial, Gen X, Boomer Women Share Similarities

Despite some key distinctions in areas such as communication preferences and smartphone usage, women of all ages share surprising similarities when it comes to their shopping habits, according to SheSpeaks' new #GenWomen Survey.

“Given how many brands have products that target across these generational groups, we thought it was important to share new insights,” said Aliza Freud, founder and CEO of SheSpeaks, which is an award-winning engagement platform that connects influencers to brands to create authentic and compelling content. “Our hope is that brands can use these findings to build more successful marketing and content programs, as well as to create efficiencies across media and communication efforts.”

The study was conducted nationally via an online survey of more than 3,300 U.S. women. Its insights explore women in the demographics of Generation Y/Millennials (born 1981-1995); Generation X (born 1965-1980); and Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964). Key findings include:

Distinct differences in communication preferences

  • 29% of Millennials are most likely to use their mobile phones to do personal email vs. 7% of Boomers; 79% of Boomers are most likely to use their desktops/laptops for personal email, compared with 61% of Millennials
  • 37% of Gen Y women are most likely to use their computers for video chat; 24% use their mobile phones most frequently; 72% of Millennials video chat vs. 53% of Boomers
  • 29% of Millennials strongly agree that they are concerned about privacy online vs. 40% of Boomers; 21% of Millennials and 17% of Gen X women have an anonymous social-media account
  • Although social media is the No. 1 way for women of all generations to stay connected on a daily basis, 32% of Millennials are more likely to text vs. 21% of Boomers; 16% of Boomers vs. 5% of Millennials are more likely to cite email as their preferred way to stay in touch, compared to talking on the phone (18% vs. 4% for Millennials)

Women are heavy users of social media across generations

  • 91% of women of all ages visit Facebook at least once a week; though 68% of Millennials are relatively more active on Pinterest, Twitter (64%), YouTube (60%) and Instagram (57%)
  • 83% of Millennial women are also big sharers on social media, sharing a mix of family photos; observations or stories about their daily lives (74%); new purchases (74%); and local/world news (52%)
  • 42% of women say social media is their top channel and spend the largest amount of time each day connecting with friends and family via social media

Women share similar purchasing habits in spite of age differences

  • 63% of women generally know which products they will purchase when they visit a store, although they are not certain which brands they will buy
  • 74% say price trumps convenience
  • 74% of women clip coupons for in-store shopping or find coupon codes for online shopping; 70% make a list on paper of what they need to buy; 65% research what products are on sale; 52% research product features/styles to make purchase decisions
  • 72% of Millennials make purchases on their phones vs. 65% of Gen X and 38% of Boomers; though all generations are more likely to make online purchases via desktop or laptop most frequently (74% Millennials, 76% Gen X and 81% Boomers), when compared with frequency of purchases on mobile phones and iPads
  • 66% of women cite a review on a retailer’s website, such as or, as a primary influence in purchasing a product. Meanwhile, Millennial and Gen X women are more likely than Boomers to have been influenced by a coupon they saw on a social network, a blog review or a photo on Pinterest when making a purchase

Millennials are more comfortable with smartphones

  • 70% of Millennial and 65% of Gen X women use their smartphones or tablets at least once a month as part of their shopping process, with 20% of Millennial women saying they plan to make more purchases on their mobile phones in the next six months
  • Millennials are more comfortable purchasing all types of products with their smartphones, including downloadable music (56%); downloadable books (48%); beauty products (41%); toys/games (35%); and general household items (34%)
  • Millennial women are most likely to use their smartphones to play games (36% compared to 26% of Gen X and 11% of Boomers)