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Consumer Behaviors in the US


Consumer Behaviors in the US: Key Generational Shopping Trends in 2023

With a predicted revenue of $982 billion, the US houses one of the largest ecommerce markets in the world. But what behaviors and preferences should brands consider when targeting specific demographics in the US? Discover more here.

February 24, 2023

3 mins read

Catz Thompson

With a predicted revenue of $982 billion in 2023, the United States is one of the biggest ecommerce markets in the world.

It’s a market is characterized by intense competition and rapidly evolving technology. There are over 375,000 ecommerce and online auction stores in the US as of 2023 – a 13.4% rise from 2022.

In this competitive market, understanding the nuances of US consumers is crucial for businesses looking to expand their reach.

But how are the consumers driving such trends, and how do their behaviors differ from generation to generation?

Here we delve into the intricacies of the US consumer, exploring their preferences and behaviours, and sharing how to effectively engage audiences across multiple demographics. 

Baby boomers

Baby boomers are defined as the generation born between 1946 and 1974, growing up in the shadow of post-war rationing and before the arrival of ecommerce. But despite this, baby boomers have embraced online shopping.

Convenience and the ability to compare prices and products before making a purchase is a key driver for baby boomers. Indeed, 92% of the generation prefer shopping online rather than in person.

But the experience of brick-and-mortar retail has left its mark on boomers. 29% of US baby boomers point to reliable customer service and a clear refund policy as key to a positive online experience. Further to this, 43% said they preferred websites in their own language and currency.

Simplicity and clarity are key to successfully targeting this generation of online consumers.

Detailed product descriptions, user-friendly website design, multiple secure payment and clear contact options – these are the key features that will attract baby boomers to ecommerce brands in 2023. 


Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials are the largest consumer demographic in the market today. Indeed, this generation are expected to make up 75% of the US workforce by 2030.

Born at the dawn of the digital era, millennials saw a number of technological innovations. From flip phones to smartphones, dial-up internet to 5G, Myspace to Facebook, this generation developed a digital savvy that baby boomers did not.

As a result, millennials are also more well-informed about the latest trends, products and technological advances. Consequently, they have higher expectations from online brands, looking for a seamless, personalized experience.

This desire for a personalized experience, coupled with a need for flexible costs, means subscription models are particularly popular with US millennials – 92% of this generation had an active subscription in 2022 alone.

For millennials, an online brand that engages with them on social media and offers a personalized, interactive experience is a winner.

But alongside this, brands should also consider the authenticity of their messaging when delivering this experience. 90% of millennials point to authenticity as a key factor when deciding which brands to purchase from.

As such, businesses should strive to put transparency and authenticity at the heart of their marketing. In 2023, consistent, open and values-driven messaging is essential for winning over millennial consumers. 

Gen Z

Gen Z, also known as the iGeneration, is the latest generation gaining buying power in the US.

Born between 1997 and 2013, Gen Z grew up with technology and ecommerce. Unlike millennials, they don’t remember a time when digital wasn’t an inextricable part of their day-to-day lives.

As a result, they have a unique relationship with technology and are considered the first true digital natives.

Gen Z has a strong preference for video content, and today make up over 40% of TikTok users. America’s Gen Zs are accelerating these preferences, watching an average of 7.2 hours of video a day.

But this preference for online content doesn’t mean they entirely shun brick-and-mortar shopping. 48% say they prefer in-store shopping over ecommerce, revealing the appeal of the in-store experience, even to this digital-native generation.

For brands, this means a balance must be struck between physical and digital shopping experiences. This manifests through social media and livestream content, as well as the emergence of Web3 and metaverse channels that are set to reshape the retail of the future.

Much like millennials, Gen Z are values-driven consumers, with 60% of US Gen Zs seeing their choice of brand as an expression of who they are, and 79% wanting to shop with brands they believe in.

This doesn’t just apply to ethical product sourcing and sustainability credentials either. Gen Z also care about wider socio-economic issues too, such as racial equality and putting purpose over profit.

For brands seeking to connect with this growing consumer generation, they need to evaluate their own core values and purpose. This goes beyond the products they sell, extending to their purpose and mission in the world.  

Consumer preferences, behaviors and needs are constantly evolving. But by understanding these intricacies and adapting accordingly, businesses can effectively enter and expand in this growing and thriving ecommerce market and achieve long-term success.

At Ingenuity, our brands have established presences from all over the US, catering to shoppers from across demographics. This reach is supported by our nuanced approach to consumer needs and desires, integrated across our operationsdigital and technology infrastructure.

Ready to reach US consumers with a demographic-spanning approach? Get in touch today.


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