Baby Boomers Vs. Millennials. A focus group was recently held to find out the answer to a burning question: Are Baby Boomers and Millennials really that different? To determine the answer, the Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and Millennials (1980 – 2000) provided insightful responses to a series of questions.

There were five participants from each group, and the results are quite interesting. Take a look:

Do you prefer to shop in a super center, brick & mortar shop, or online?

Baby Boomers (BB): In many cases, the husbands do the grocery shopping and will travel less than 1.5 miles from home. Most visit the grocery store daily to pick up what they need. Power Centers are popular among this group, and participants indicated that they still prefer to visit a brick and mortar store for clothing and furniture. Online shopping is conducted primarily for items such as electronics and facial products. Amazon emerged as the leading online site for most of the Baby Boomers interviewed.

Millennials (M): This group prefers to shop at a center that is within walking distance of their home for both groceries and household items. Most Millennials will shop once a week if not once every two weeks to stock their kitchen with the necessities. Those who rent (which, incidentally, are four out of the five Millennials in this focus group), say that they purposefully select a residence that is in close proximity to a shopping center with a grocery store, coffee shop, and other services to meet their needs. The Millennial group prefers online shopping because they would rather avoid physically going to a store. Like the Baby Boomers, this group likes Amazon because “it has everything.” That said, several of the Millennials confirmed that they prefer to shop via online counterparts to brick and mortar shops based on the ease of returning items if needed.

How much time a day do you spend on social media, and which platforms do you use?

BB: The popular sites for Baby Boomers are Facebook and LinkedIn, while one respondent noted that he uses Twitter to stay current on events, though he does not tweet. Spending less than an hour a day on social media, the Baby Boomers primarily peruse their feed for updates on family and friends, occasionally posting themselves. Often only one spouse has an account, and the other uses that account to log in and review the activities of friends and family. Most hadn’t visited their LinkedIn page in over a year.

M: Snapchat and Instagram are the two front runners for the Millennials. Spending an average of four hours a day on social media, this group loves the idea of “live interaction,” and is enamored with the concept of posts that are removed within a matter of seconds after viewing (i.e. Snapchat). The majority of the Millennials have an active LinkedIn account that they update regularly and use for business networking. Let’s not forget Facebook – while each Millennial interviewed has an account, they view Facebook as “old news,” based primarily on their constant need to stay ahead of the trends. One major factor affecting the popularity of Facebook among this group is the fact that their parents – the Baby Boomers – are now on the platform. On Facebook, Millennials don’t want to post anything that their parents will see or worse yet, comment on.

Do you prefer to live in an urban or suburban setting?

BB: The outcome of this question is particularly interesting. Even though all of the Baby Boomers who participated in this focus group are currently living in suburban homes, the majority say that they wouldn’t mind downsizing once they approach retirement and are “empty nesters.” They agree that living in an apartment with stylish amenities would be a welcome change, as they would no longer need to worry about the constant upkeep required when owning a home. Many said it would provide them the freedom to travel more, freeing them from worrying about their home while they are away.

M: The Millennials’ responses were exactly opposite. Four of the five Millennials interviewed confirmed that they would love to live in a house in the suburbs in the next few years. It’s important to note that the Millennials interviewed live in Orange County, whichis primarily suburban. That said, most in this group currently live in apartments and/or townhomes in close proximity to local “hot spots and shopping,” and, unlike the Baby Boomers, are hoping for a house in the future. Ultimately, however, each Millennial participant confirmed that owning a home, especially in California, seems to be an unattainable goal in the current market.

Do you eat out or cook at home?

BB: Baby Boomers typically go out for dinner approximately three to four times per week. When they do cook at home, it is often for a larger group, and typically, it is unexpected. Since the Baby Boomers cover such a wide range of birth years, they have become parents to both Gen X and Millennials. Our respondents told us that their children love the idea of a “free home-cooked meal,” and generally show up unannounced. This explains why Baby Boomers shop more frequently – they have become accustomed to cooking impromptu dinners for multiple people.

M: The majority of our Millennials eat dinner at home more than they dine out. This is largely because of spending throughout the day. Typically, by dinner time, Millennials have already spent $5.00 on coffee or a juice drink for breakfast and $10.00 to $12.00 on lunch. Based on this spending this group prefers to go home and prepare a simple meal for themselves at dinner. Participants confirmed that they generally save the dining out experience for the weekends and/or social events with friends.

Did you get an allowance growing up?

BB: The average allowance earned per week was around $5.00 for Baby Boomers, and most in this group started doing chores around the age of eight, continuing all the way through high school. Typical chores included doing the dishes, vacuuming, taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, cooking dinner and doing laundry, all of which helped the entire household.

M: The majority of our Millennials earned a decent amount of money (approximately $100/month) for making sure their room was picked up and bed was made, with the occasional “Will you take out the trash?” There were two potential reasons that emerged as drivers of this generational difference. First, it is possible that Baby Boomer parents reflected on their own childhood, filled with responsibility, and simply didn’t want to put this on their own children. As a result, they refrained from assigning household chores to their children. Second, the demands on Millennials as children have proven to be much greater than many prior generations. Most Millennials were in two to three sports at a time, learning to play the piano, sing, dance, and participating in various other activities needed to advance in society. Most often, this group was so busy studying and practicing that there simply wasn’t enough time for chores.

Interpret this quote: “You can love your job, but your job won’t love you back”

BB: Your entire life shouldn’t revolve around your job. There needs to be a healthy work/life balance.

M: Job security and career growth is more important than loving your job. In today’s competitive job market, when you secure a position, you should give it 150% at all times. While being passionate about work is the ideal, everyone is a commodity, and it’s important to stay focused on your future goals in order to stay employed and get ahead.

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