Factors influencing online shopping behaviour of Millennials

By Priya Chetty on July 19, 2019

Online shopping has grown exponentially over the past two decades due to technological advancements. This is leading to a change in consumer buying behaviour. A previous article in this study showed that buying behaviours are different according to age groups. One of the major reason is the difference between responsiveness towards the brand image and advertisement (SivaKumar & Gunasekaran, 2017). There are several factors that affect the online buying behaviour of consumers. This article describes the factors that affect Millennials consumers’ shopping behaviour.  

Impact of price on the shopping behaviour of the Millennials

Price is a very crucial factor affecting the online shopping behaviour of the Millennials (Tan & Leby Lau, 2016). They frequently use social media that provides them with an opportunity to choose from a wide range of brands and compare prices (Dennis, et al., 2010). The products most frequently purchased by the Millennials online are shoes, clothing, sports equipment and food. They also actively seek discounts and e-coupons, which clearly reflect the impact of price on online buying behaviour of Millennials.  (Ordun, 2015) found that 35% of the Millennials had searched for online discount coupons before any purchase.

Impact of quality

Quality affects the online shopping behaviour of Millennials widely (Ibrahim, et al., 2018). ‘Quality’ in this context refers not just to the product but also the after-sales service, return policy, etc. This affects the overall satisfaction of the consumer and is critical in retaining old customers and attract new ones (Bilgihan, 2016).        

Impact of brand image and user experience

The brand image of a product or service is an important factor that directly affects the online shopping behaviour of the Millennials (Spaid & Flint, 2014). Online rating and reviews are aligned with a brand image (Bellman, et al., 2014). Negative online reviews dissuade consumers from going forward with the online purchase (Mishra, et al., 2014). Moreover, Millennials have also relied on their friends and relatives for choosing a brand which has become more frequent through the introduction of referral concept.

User experience directly influences the shopping pattern of the Millennials (Bilinska-Reformat & Stefanska, 2016). In the words of Bilgihan (2016), online buying for the Millennials is not just about utilitarian benefits like price and convenience, but also about their enjoyment. Website design in this context refers to visual design, information design, and navigation design (Bandhopadhyaya, 2018). The components of a website that influence decision making includes content, structure, interaction and presentation.

For example, consumers prefer easy navigation, quick check-out options, and multiple payment methods (Cummins, et al., 2014).

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Impact of product variety and perceived risk

Spralls III, et al. (2016) assert that 68% of the Millennials enjoy browsing or checking the product line-up that provides them with an opportunity to choose from the vast expanse of options. Perceived risk comprises of five factors that are:

  • source,
  • performance,
  • physical,
  • privacy and,
  • financial (Cummins, et al., 2014).

The risk related to buying from an unknown website or application and risk of losing financial details such as credit card or debit card details on an unknown website is some of the risks perceived by the Millennials (Ibrahim, et al., 2018). Dissatisfaction or threat of damaged product after purchasing is also included as the potential risks of online shopping (Mishra, et al., 2014).       

An uphill task for brands to stay competitive online

One of the key factors that a business must keep in mind while promoting its products online is to build trust. Millennials highly value the opinions of their peers, friends and family before taking an informed online purchase decision. Moreover, a detailed study of millennials and their online shopping decision making patterns is likely to be critical for marketers in order to stay competitive. Millennials constitute a sizeable portion of the global population. They are also majorly working individuals, less brand loyal than their predecessors, and are highly reactive to technological and socio-economic changes.    


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Priya is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Project Guru, a research and analytics firm based in Gurgaon. She is responsible for the human resource planning and operations functions. Her expertise in analytics has been used in a number of service-based industries like education and financial services.

Her foundational educational is from St. Xaviers High School (Mumbai). She also holds MBA degree in Marketing and Finance from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Delhi (2008).

Some of the notable projects she has worked on include:

  • Using systems thinking to improve sustainability in operations: A study carried out in Malaysia in partnership with Universiti Kuala Lumpur.
  • Assessing customer satisfaction with in-house doctors of Jiva Ayurveda (a project executed for the company)
  • Predicting the potential impact of green hydrogen microgirds (A project executed for the Government of South Africa)

She is a key contributor to the in-house research platform Knowledge Tank.

She currently holds over 300 citations from her contributions to the platform.

She has also been a guest speaker at various institutes such as JIMS (Delhi), BPIT (Delhi), and SVU (Tirupati).



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