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How to understand your customers by understanding their generation

Customers play a pivotal role for all companies. It is therefore essential to understand the consumers’ needs. Both the things that they have in common, but also the things that set them apart. 

November 15, 2018
By Søren Brammer Riis

Do you want a quick overview? Then scroll down to the infographic showing the buyer behavior of the 3 generations. 

In the latest report; A Generational Perspective, made by Alliance Data, this is examined by mapping out what affects the generations’ buyer behavior and how technology come into play.

A generation is, in popular terms, defined as a group of individuals often with likeminded ideas, problems and attitudes.

This article will focus on the 3 generations; Generation X, Y, and Baby Boomers, what affects their buyer behavior and how you can target your approach in order to engage your customers.


Generation Y                                                      Generation X                                                              Baby Boomer
Born between 1982-1999                                   Born between 1966-1981                                           Born between 1946-1965
Between 19-36 years old                                    Between 37-52 years old                                           Between 53-72 years old


Expectations of the purchase experience

When asked about which factors affect their desire to buy from certain brands or stores, it shows that fewer and fewer factors play a part, the older people become. This means that the younger generation, Generation Y, peaks with 12 factors, while Generation X has 4 factors and the Baby Boomers have 2 factors. 

Even though both Generation Y and X attach importance to the general atmosphere in the store, it differentiates as Generation Y want to have an emotional connection to the store or the brand. While Generation X has a more rational approach, in which it wants to have straight-forward and uncomplicated information about the product. On the contrary, Baby Boomers focus on the product with product quality ranking high.

The generational difference makes it possible for you to engage you customer segments. With Generation Y you should aim at creating a more personal purchase experience, while you should focus on communicating in a simpler and more straight-forward manner towards the Baby Boomers, who wants to have concrete answer to which product they should buy and why.


Convenience, convenience, convenience

Both Generation X and Y have, in the majority of their lives, been used to having technology at hand, which means that they rank technology as a significant factor when choosing which brands or stores to buy from.

On the other hand, technology is not an influencing factor for Baby Boomers when selecting brands or stores. However, an online presence is seen as a must across all generations, while mobile apps are only seen as a necessity by Generation X and Y.

Although technological advances are popular amongst the younger generations, more than 75% of all generations want to view a product physically before buying.


Great customer service means everything

Despite the generational differences, the report shows that consumers across all generations believe that great customer service is the most important when it comes to choosing where to shop.

Great customer service plays an important part when it comes to giving the customers a good purchase experience. However, it can be difficult in a busy environment with high demands from the customers. Would you like to know how technology can help you give the customers a better experience? In “The CIO's guide to succes in a changing market”, we give you an idea of how you can improve the customer experience in the daily round with high demands and a low amount of patience.  



Buyer behavior of the generations