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Generation X (45 to 54-year olds) are the most prolific online shoppers, confounding popular opinion that millennials dominate internet purchasing, according to new research.

Generation X shoppers driving explosion in online orders

Research conducted by YouGov for parcel locker provider InPost quizzed more than 2,000 shoppers across the UK found that more than a fifth (22%) of 45 to 54-year olds made in excess of 50 online purchases a year – meaning at least one order a week – the most popular answer among that age group.

Key findings:

  • 45 to 54-year olds order more online than their millennial counterparts
  • Shoppers indifferent to quick deliveries; preferring convenience to speed
  • Younger shoppers more likely to miss deliveries and avoid collecting them from neighbours

In contrast, the most common response for 18 to 24-year olds (28%) and 25 to 34-year olds (19%) was a far more modest 1-10 online orders per year.

Digging into the reason for needing items quickly, almost a quarter (24%) cited the convenience of having items delivered rather than going to the shops.

However, the second most popular answer saw almost a fifth (17%) say they had never needed an item quickly, suggesting the logistics industry’s pursuit of speed may be pre-emptive rather than driven by consumer demand.

Missed deliveries

A fifth of respondents said they regularly missed home deliveries (2% always and 18% often), highlighting the wasted time and resources impacting all parties in an already strained delivery market.

The frustration of these unsuccessful attempts was most keenly felt by younger age groups, with almost a third (32%) of 18 to 24-year olds regularly missing home deliveries and even more 25 to 34-year olds (37%) left empty handed.

All is not lost for two-fifths (43%) of shoppers who are able to collect their parcels from a neighbour, but interestingly this percentage decreases significantly among younger age groups who might not be so in touch with their local community.

While 47% of over-55s are happy to pick up redirected deliveries from their neighbours, this percentage falls to 37% for 25 to 34-year olds and just 28% of 18 to 24-year olds.

Jason Tavaria, CEO of InPost, said: “It is no secret that the UK delivery market is at breaking point, with 9.5 million parcels sent across the country each day.

“Millennials have long been identified as the age group driving the explosion in online shopping, but our research shows it’s individuals from Generation X who are behind this boom; combining tech savviness with healthy disposable incomes.

“It’s also telling that a significant percentage of respondents are indifferent to needing items quickly; as an industry there has been an obsession with the need for speed, but it is possible that this need has been created by expectation of demand rather than genuine consumer need.

“The findings also shine a light on other interesting behavioural traits. While older shoppers think nothing of relying on neighbours accepting deliveries on their behalf, younger buyers seek more independence and control over their orders.

“No single solution will fix the UK delivery market overnight, but InPost wants to change consumer behaviour to create greener communities and a more sustainable system.

“Collection at parcel lockers not only eases the logistical headache for consumers, retailers and delivery drivers, but can also have a positive environmental impact by taking vehicles off the road and ensuring delivery first time, every time.”

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