Lucy Carney
Lucy Carney 16 April 2020

Which Generation is the Most Critical? The Stats Behind Online Reviews

It’s no surprise that different generations shop, behave, and even leave reviews online in different ways. Understanding exactly what these differences are can have a huge and powerful effect on your marketing tactics. Why put energy into social media marketing if your target audience prefers Google? And exactly how many reviews should you have on-site to inspire trust in potential buyers? Gain insight into your customers’ behaviors and supercharge your marketing methods for good.

You don’t have to be a business owner to know that online reviews can make or break a business. As shoppers, reviews are usually an important part of the buying process – but depending on your age, you might be more reliant on reviews than your fellow customers.

Different generations’ online habits influence how they make purchasing decisions – from the minimum number of reviews they need to see before clicking “Buy”, to their likelihood of shopping around between businesses. 

Understanding these differences and discovering which habits your target audience is most likely to have can help you to supercharge your marketing tactics and boost engagement. 

For example, Gen Zs and Millennials are the hardest generation to win over – they’re the most critical and the hardest to please, needing to see an average of 181 reviews before feeling confident enough to make a purchase!

Here’s an infographic created by Website Builder Expert revealing the stats behind how different generations shop and review online… 


Gen Zs and Millennials: The Most Critical Generation

Gen Zs and Millennials may be the hardest generations to please, taking twice as long as Boomers to feel confident in a purchase – however, they’re also the most frequent buyers,  averaging 344 transactions per year!

Comfortable on mobile devices, Gen Zs and Millennials can research, shop, and review on the go – with 50% posting reviews via mobile. This makes them a perfect audience for engaging with apps, vidoes, and social media. 

One of the main problems with marketing to Gen Zs and Millennials is that they shop around a lot. They’re more concerned with saving money and finding great deals than older generations – perhaps this is why 51% of Gen Zs and Millennials research businesses on a daily basis, compared to only 6% of Boomers.

Gen Zs and Millennials are hugely influenced by their peers – think about their obsession with social media, and how quickly they jump on new trends and popular products. This makes online reviews a key factor in marketing to this generation.

Although it’s difficult to win over their loyalty, Gen Zs and Millennials are worth selling to because of how active they are online. They’re regular buyers, and they’re very engaged – Gen Zs and Millennials leave the most amount of reviews online, so you’ll be rewarded by plenty of engagement if you succeed in winning their trust. 

Top Tips For Marketing to Gen Zs and Millennials

1. Get as many reviews and ratings as you can. Gen Zs and Millennials need to see more reviews than any other generation in order to feel confident in a product, and they spend the longest reading reviews before making a purchase.

2. Engage your customers. Gen Zs and Millennials want to see at least 13 Q&As on product pages, so make sure you deliver!

Leverage social media and mobile. Over a third of Gen Zs and Millennials said their trust in a product would increase after seeing an influencer review online, so it’s worth considering social media marketing.

Gen Xs: The Busiest Generation

Gen Xs are a busy bunch – they’re at the age where they’re juggling young families, busy careers, and financial stresses about retirement and paying for their kids’ education. Gen Xs are all about saving money, while still enjoying holidays and the odd indulgence online. 

While Gen Xs may not seem like a generation who are likely to spend much time shopping online, you shouldn’t overlook them

Why are Gen Xs worth selling to? Well, they provide the sweet spot between Millennials and Boomers – they’re more tech savvy than Boomers, and more trusting than Millennials. Gen Xs also buy more frequently than Boomers, and are quicker to make a purchase than Gen Zs and Millennials. 

This is good news – you just need to know how to catch the busy Gen Xer’s attention and create a deal they can’t resist. Make sure your marketing methods fit into their hectic lifestyles, and require minimal time and effort to convert. 

Gen Xs are often on their phones, in their inbox, or on social media trying to balance their work-life relationships. Try more traditional marketing methods such as email, coupons, and even old-fashioned paper mail – 62% of Gen Xs still read newspapers!

Top Tips For Marketing to Gen Xs

1. Use social media. Gen Xs love social media – 81% of Gen Xs use social media every day. 

2. Use videos. Gen Xs also love video content – they want to see more videos on product pages than any other generation, so aim for a minimum of four videos if you’re targeting Gen Xs!

3. Solve problems for your customers. Gen Xs don’t have time to waste, but they like well-meaning brands. Identify a problem and then offer a solution – whether for your customer, or for the greater good. If you can make a Gen Xer’s life easier, you might just win their loyalty.

Boomers: The Most Trusting Generation

The biggest draw for selling to Boomers is two-fold – they’re the most trusting generation, and they also spend the most per transaction. This makes them a lucrative customer base to target, as they’re quicker to buy than younger generations and seem less concerned with saving money. 

Boomers are often dismissed as being totally technically illiterate, but research shows that’s not the case. They shop online, use social media, buy smartphones, and even embraced the rise of voice search – they may not know what influencers are, but Boomers do know their way around the internet. 

So, what’s the catch? Well, if you’re a new business you may have a long way to go before you’ll be able to earn a Boomer’s loyalty, and you’ll need to make a good impression. Only 7% of Boomers would try a business with one to two stars, compared to 26% of Gen Zs and Millennials. 

If you’re selling to Boomers, you need to start by creating a strong, recognizable, and authentic brand. You’ll also need to focus largely on traditional marketing methods, such as television and SEO. 

You’ll also need to put a lot of energy into creating high quality customer service – Boomers are looking for that “in-store experience” online, and will value some human interaction via live chat or phone. 

On the whole, Boomers are a lot more trusting than their children and grandchildren, and are bigger spenders too!

Top Tips For Marketing to Boomers

1. Provide top notch customer service. There’s more than one way to win trust – by delivering helpful, human customer support on your store you’re more likely to keep Boomers coming back for more. 

2. Invest in your brand. Boomers are more likely to trust a brand over reviews than other generations, especially when it comes to high value products. Make sure your brand inspires trust and long-term loyalty in your customers. 

3. Forget fancy marketing tactics. Four out of five Boomers don’t know what an influencer is, so don’t get carried away or try to spread similar marketing across different generations – it won’t translate well!

Generational Marketing: Wrap-Up

For years we’ve enjoyed labelling different generations – from critical, spoiled Millennials to technically ignorant Boomers, but the truth is all generations have their strengths and weaknesses. 

Yes, Gen Zs and Millennials are the least loyal and most critical, needing the most reviews before trusting a product or business. But they’re also super engaged and ready to interact with new brands – not to mention they’re the most frequent online shoppers!

Whichever generation you’re marketing to, make sure to understand how they navigate the digital world, and what they need from you – and you should end up with happy customers, whatever their age.

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