Millennials Are Nonstop Shoppers, But Here's Why It's Okay

Admit it: You've got a couple of shopping sites open in other windows while you read this. Or you spent a few minutes this morning pinning a couple of items you need to have for spring. Or you browsed through Instagram for some outfit inspiration from your favorite celebs or fashion bloggers. Whether you're guilty of one or all, survey says you can't stop shopping. A new poll conducted by The Intelligence Group (ITG) says that people between the ages of 14 to 34 are constantly shopping, whether it's on an e-commerce site, in-store, or on social media.

However, just because we're always looking doesn't mean we're actually buying. Research found that while younger consumers are spending a lot of their time shopping, they are more careful about spending their money. Only 36 percent of the 1,300 Millennials aged 18 to 34 (and subset of 14 to 17 year olds) polled said that they only bought things they viewed as "necessary."

Not only are we active window shoppers, research also found that we are savvy shoppers. Almost two-thirds of Millennials admitted that they research a product online before actually going to buy it in a store.

While our buying habits don't accurately reflect our shopping habits, our super plugged-in generation still represents a $200 billion opportunity in consumer spending, according to Nielsen.

Nielsen's findings support the recent study conducted by the ITG, but delved a bit deeper into our shopping habits. Nielsen found that Millennials make fewer shopping trips per week than the generations of their parents, but end up spending more once they're there. They also found that while young consumers spend a lot of time shopping on the Internet, e-commerce remains a fairly small fraction of total retail sales. Lastly, Nielsen reported that Millennials "shop impulsively" for trendy products and are driven by deals and discounts.

While we may have unusual shopping behaviors, according to Jamie Gutfruend, chief strategy officer of The Intelligence Group, millennials "directly influence about $600 million in U.S. consumer spending every year." Beth Brady, president of Segmentation and Local Market Solutions for Nielsen couldn't agree more. “Investing in millennials is absolutely the thing to do. They are a huge group of consumers, and they are just going to amass more wealth over the next 10, 20 or so years, so understanding them now and investing now is a very good thing, but it may be a little different than how you would have invested in previous generations."