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Understanding Delivery Preferences Across Generations: Key Insights for E-commerce

Explore key insights on delivery preferences across generations. Learn how Millennials, Gen Z, Gen X, and Baby Boomers differ in their e-commerce habits.
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During lockdown, e-commerce adoption was accelerated across all age groups. Understanding and being up to date on the delivery preferences of different age groups is crucial for retailers.

A recent study by Descartes, involving over 8,000 consumers across 10 geographies, has shed light on these preferences.

Before we delve into the findings, let’s clarify the age groups we’re referring to:

  • Gen Z: Born between 1997 and 2012, they are currently aged between 11 and 26.
  • Millennials: Born between 1981 and 1996, they are currently aged between 27 and 42.
  • Gen X: Born between 1965 and 1980, they are currently aged between 43 and 58.
  • Baby Boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964, they are currently aged between 59 and 77.

Key Findings:

  1. E-commerce Spend: Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to increase their e-commerce spend, with 50% of them planning to do so, compared to only 33% of consumers aged 55 and above. This points to baby boomers still preferring to shop in-store.
  2. Reaction to Delivery Problems: Younger consumers are more likely to take action against a retailer in case of a delivery problem. A staggering 80% of 18-34-year-olds would react, compared to 69% of 35-54 year-olds and 53% of those over 55. For brands targeting younger audiences, you must do what you can to mitigate delivery problems and ensure customer support is equipped pro-actively to resolve exceptions otherwise you can except one-star reviews.
  3. Delivery Speed vs Cost: Speed of delivery is a priority for 39% of the 18–34 age group, compared to just 19% of early Gen X and Baby Boomers. Conversely, half of the early Gen X and Baby Boomers prioritised the lowest cost, compared to 30% of 18–34 year-olds. By offering same-day and time-guaranteed options, you can look to increase conversions from younger customers.
  4. In-Person Shopping Preference: In 2023, only 36% of older consumers said they prefer to see a product in person before buying, a significant decrease from 55% the previous year.
  5. Delivery Performance: Despite a 6% improvement in delivery performance over 2022 figures, 67% of consumers surveyed experienced a delivery failure in the three-month evaluation period. Of those affected, 68% took some form of action that translated into negative consequences such as bad reviews, complaints or refunds for the online retailer or delivery company.

These findings highlight the importance of understanding and catering to the delivery preferences of different age groups. By doing so, we can provide a better experience, improve customer loyalty, and ultimately increase revenues.