How to Market to Millennials and Baby Boomers at the Same Time

Four out of five retailers attribute almost 50% of their sales to baby boomers.1 But, this is soon to change as 80 million Millennials are entering their peak consumption years. That’s according to this report put together by Synchrony Financial. In it, they share their findings about Millennial and Baby Boomer shopping habits and strategies on how to win over Millennials without losing Baby Boomers.

In order to find winning strategies for both generations, the authors of the report recommend understanding the similarities and differences, which are as follows:


  1. Both Boomers and Millennials love coupons, bargains and sales.
  2. Women are the overwhelming majority doing the shopping in apparel and department stores and talking about their experiences in social media.
  3. Both Boomers and Millennials are very comfortable with online shopping, browsing and researching.
  4. Millennials are only moderately more likely to own digital devices


  1. Millennials and Boomers use digital devices differently: Millennials are much more likely to use their mobile phones for a wide variety of shopping related tasks. Boomers have the devices, but are much less likely to use them as interactively for shopping
  2. Millennials rely more heavily on word-of-mouth, social media and mobile influences.
  3. Boomers and Millennials want a different in-store experience.
    • Boomers crave customer service while Millennials want technology to make their shopping experiences frictionless.
    • Millennials care a great deal about price, and price drives many of their purchase decisions in several categories, including specialty retail, appliances and electronics, and department stores.
    • Boomers score higher in selecting a store based on the styles and brands they prefer. In specialty retail and department stores, Boomers are much more likely to select a store based on the styles they carry, rather than based on price.

By understanding these similarities and differences, retailers can find strategies and solutions to cater to both generations. The authors of the Synchrony Financial Report offer eight strategies:

  1. Deploy different coupon and sales strategies to drive traffic.
  2. Ensure your digital customer experience is frictionless.
  3. Understand your customer’s path to purchase dynamics.
  4. For Millennials, create opportunities to generate and amplify the impact of word-of-mouth advocacy.
  5. For Boomers, pay attention to online shopping, advertising and customer service.
  6. Align your organization to ensure consistent brand experiences across channels.
  7. Develop associate training and involvement to create a delighted customer.
  8. Focus on women as the drivers of the social conversation.

Different strategies and solutions will fit differently depending on the retailer and its target, but it’s important to note that if a retailer understands its competitive advantage and its target audience, they can use one or many of these strategies to capitalize on the new generation of consumers.

1 “These Findings about How Millennials and Baby Boomers Shop May Surprise You.” Business Insider. Business Insider, Inc, 22 Apr. 2015. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.

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