Millennials are not more likely to purchase items online than Generation X. They are, however, more likely to make all forms of purchases online desktop or mobile. Millennials will try experimental types of online shopping like buying groceries and baby care where previous generations tend to shy away like nervous squirrels. “Millennials are braver in terms of trying different approaches to shopping online, which allows advertisers and businesses to be more creative with e-commerce”- Nolan Smith, Account Executive, U.S. Sales.  Companies such as Blue Apron sell ingredients to make meals and have managed to find a significant population of millennials who are willing to use such a specific service. A product may not seem like it fits into the online shopping landscape, but there’s a fair chance it will work anyway.

Millennials are braver in terms of trying different approaches to shopping online, which allows advertisers and businesses to be more creative with e-commerce.
Nolan Smith, Account Executive, U.S. Sales



  • Don’t target millennials as one homogeneous group

Tips & Tactics

  • Utilize technologies such as dynamic creative to personalize communications for individual shoppers based on data including: demographic, contextual, behavioural and past interactions

Mobile Friendly

The majority of Millennials use mobile to make purchases online which is much higher than any other generation. Laptops are still number one but mobile has gained a lot of ground in online purchases by Millennials.

Millennials are also more comfortable with mobile payments with 63% of of them planning on using the payment format in the near future according to a July 2016 survey from YouGov.

Devices used to purchase products chart

Testing Your Mobile Site

The speed of your website can make the difference between a sale and the loss of one. Internet users don’t have much patience for slow loading sites and that’s especially true for mobile. For the quick bursts of internet use associated with smartphones, websites need to load fast. It’s a race to the end of the bathroom break and your site needs to outrun a bowel movement.

Here are some tools to test your site speed:



  • Think mobile first – purchases are increasing on mobile and it’s the number one device for millennials to research on

Tips & Tactics

  • For in-store purchases, set up mobile payments to make transactions quicker and more convenient
  • It’s important to have cross platform advertising, millennials are still using multiple devices to purchase form
  • Use cross-device advertising which recognizes the consumer across each device and adjusts for each phase of the purchase cycle
  • Make sure you have a mobile optimized site – if not create mobile landing pages for your advertising or use expandable units like Contobox Display which can act as a mobile optimized microsite on publishers’ sites

Researching Products

95% of Millennials research products online according to a September 2016 survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers. That number isn’t much different than Generation X at 91%. The main difference is that Millennials will pull out their phone in-store to research the product right in front of them. Sounds rude but it can help them make a more informed decision on their purchase.

Millennials aren’t afraid of going into stores as they even like to order items online for in-store pick-up. They just prefer to research their shopping wherever they happen to be, like in a store or on the toilet.

device use before, during and after in-store shopping



  • Think mobile first (We’ve said this already – seriously though)
  • Highlight positive reviews from independent and credible sources in your communications

Tips & Tactics

  • Use geo-targeting to advertise to consumers while they’re in store ready to make a purchase
  • Contextually target competitor user reviews to reach millennial shoppers while they’re doing research at home (toilet) or in-store

Further Reading

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Steve Patrick Adams is a writer, illustrator, and animator with a glowing love of all things Ad Tech. He's been a digital media producer since 2010 when he got his start working for Bite (Blue Ant Media) and has since worked for a variety of publishers including CBC Comedy, Mashable, and IAB Canada.