Survey Shows Generational Divide On Shopping Trends

Tata Consultancy Services Consumer Research Survey Shows Millennials Are Most Willing to Share Personal Data and Spend More Through Digital Offerings

Tata Consultancy Services announced the findings of its U.K. survey, which reveals the latest trends affecting retailers and consumers. The research provides insight into an emerging generational divide on digital shopping experiences, sustainable product choices, payment options, and data privacy, as retail businesses look to safeguard and increase revenues while navigating an increasingly challenging economic environment.

Among the key findings is that amid the worsening economy, most (76%) Millennials (aged 26-41 and the largest consumer group by size) are more willing to share their personal data in exchange for discounts, perks and other shopping benefits compared to other generations.

By contrast, Gen Z (aged 18-25 – the youngest generation surveyed) is more privacy-conscious, with just 60% willing to share their personal information. Just over half (54%) of Gen X (aged 42-57) who spend the most annually of any generation responded the same way. Older shoppers are revealed to be the most privacy-conscious, with just 34% of Baby Boomers (aged 58-76) as the generation with the most buying power willing to exchange their data. The Silent Generation, the most senior demographic (aged 77 and over), are most reluctant to share their personal data for benefits or discounts, at just 25%.


The findings highlight an opportunity for retailers to capitalize on Millennials’ willingness to share data by providing personalized shopping options that reward customers. They also suggest this is a chance to build trust with Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation who are more protective of their personal data, by giving them greater confidence that their data is safe and secure.

Sustainable Choices Still Appeal

The findings also indicate that interest in sustainable shopping choices and sustainable product availability is increasing, as an overwhelming majority of U.K. consumers say they are willing to spend more on responsibly sourced and environmentally friendly products.

The study finds that although an overwhelming majority (approximately 88%) of consumers in the U.K. are concerned whether products are sustainably and responsibly sourced, only 62% of consumers say they have paid more for such items. However, an average of 68% of all consumers surveyed – and a striking 79% of Millennials – would be more likely to consider shopping and spending more with a particular retailer offering rewards for sustainable choices.

Again, differences emerge among the generations: 91% of Millennials in the survey cite sustainable purchases as a priority (the lowest being 82% of the Silent Generation), meaning an increased focus on the high-spending, tech-savvy Millennial population will be key, as consumer spending comes under pressure.

From Livestreaming to Virtual Reality, Shoppers Want New Experiences.

Millennials are also the most likely to spend more with a retailer offering digital shopping experiences such as virtual fitting rooms, livestream shopping, cryptocurrency, contactless checkout, QR codes and mobile apps. The survey reveals that 75% of Millennials are more likely to shop or spend more money with a retailer offering to shop on a brand-owned mobile app, compared to just 26% of the Silent Generation. Similarly, 55% of Gen Z is more likely to spend more money with a retailer offering virtual fitting rooms and staging capabilities, contrasted with just 31% of the Silent Generation.

“When it comes to smart data, customer experiences and brand loyalty, one size does not fit all,’ commented Shekar Krishnan, Head of Retail for U.K., Ireland and Europe. “Retailers with expertise in analytics who can utilise personal information and behavioural data will be better positioned to effectively target different age groups and best navigate the complex segmentation and marketing required for a large, geographically dispersed customer base going forward. The same can be said for energy efficiency and smart sustainability solutions.”

“As Gen Z and Millennials age and their incomes grow, their spending power and importance to retailers will continue to increase. However, retailers cannot afford to ignore elder generations in future planning. To navigate these emerging trends smartly, retailers must examine how demographic segmentation and greater personalization of brand offerings can deepen customer loyalty, grow market share and increase revenue.”

“By focusing on Millennial buying power with tailored products, messaging and offers in the short-medium term, retailers can earn added loyalty and maximise a critical customer segment for years to come. But they must also rethink their marketing strategies, especially online and on social media, to build trust with Gen Z, whose buying power is rapidly rising, and with Gen X, who prefers to find products in-store, online and via TV advertising. This way, businesses can increase revenue while helping to lead the future of intelligent, sustainable, omnichannel retail and deliver the memorable customer experiences we want now and those we imagine for tomorrow.”

The 2022 TCS Retail Consumer Survey, published by the TCS Thought Leadership Institute, polled 3,000 respondents in the U.S. and U.K. (1,500 in U.S., 1,500 in U.K.) in October of 2022. Respondents consisted of cross-generational retail consumers of all genders ages 18-77+ (less focus on 77+) including Silent Generation or “Seniors” (born 1928-1945), Baby Boomers (born 1955-1964), Gen X (born 1965-1980), Millennials (born 1981-1996), Gen Z (born 1997-2012).

To view the report, please visit: https://www.tcs.com/insights/global-surveys/tcs-retail-consumer-survey.