Bridge millennials spend big and love shopping at small businesses. Here's how to reach them.

Dec 02 2020 | Alice Wong, PayPal Editorial Staff

Pretty much everyone loves to talk about the importance of marketing to millennials. They're young. They use social media. They're building careers and starting families. They're key to a successful marketing mix.  And all that may be true. But there's still an important part of this conversation that's been missing: Millennials aren't one-size-fits-all. There's a core group of millennials who have their own unique traits and behaviors.
Bridge millennials, aged 32–41, sit on the cusp between millennials and Generation X. They were some of the first digital natives to start spending online, and they can be extremely valuable if you're looking to drive engagement and revenue. Just look at their spending power: Bridge millennials spend $10,435 more each year than other millennials,making them a valuable demographic for growing brands.

So, how do you cater to them? Here's what you need to know.


They're the first digital professional generation.

Like other millennials, bridge millennials grew up using computers, smartphones, and connected devices, so they're comfortable communicating online. Still, since bridge millennials are on the older end of the millennial spectrum, they were the first to have started their professional careers in the digital age. This means, compared to their younger counterparts, bridge millennials are even more accustomed to using connected devices to work, socialize, and, of course, shop for their favorite products. In fact, almost 60% of bridge millennials use connected devices to make purchases.2

Since they've been working longer than younger millennials, bridge millennials also have more disposable income to spend – at least 40% are college-educated and spend $100,000 each year on average.To capture this audience, sell in multiple channels, including some of bridge millennials' favorite platforms like
 social media and Venmo.
 

They want to buy directly from brands.

Direct-to-consumer (D2C) shopping is on the rise. In fact, D2C e-commerce sales are expected to exceed $17 billion in 2020 – a 24.3% increase from 20194 – and it looks like bridge millennials are driving a lot of this growth. Half of that demographic say they're "very" or "extremely" interested in making purchases directly from their favorite brands. Meanwhile, less of millennials, Generation Z, and Generation X consumers say the same.This shouldn't be too surprising. As the first digital natives, bridge millennials favor seamless, online buying experiences, which many D2C sellers offer.

This provides a major opportunity for you to swoop in and build relationships with customers who want that personalized experience. To do so, it's important to have an informative, easy-to-navigate website that provides a seamless checkout process. You can also incentivize audiences to tap into special offers and loyalty perks for making repeated direct purchases.
 

They prefer to use digital payment methods.

Digital payment options are crucial for today's consumers. Buyers want to be able to purchase products online, enjoy the ease of curbside pickup, and pay in-store with touch-free methods like digital wallets.

Among bridge millennials specifically, 70% say merchant payment options impact whether or not they'll shop in-store, proving how important digital payment options are to their buying experiences.And there are certain types of digital payment options that can be especially attractive for bridge millennials, especially touch-free ones like
 QR codes.
 

They like to pay over time.

Speaking of payment preferences, get this: 60% of Millennial consumers would rather spread the cost of a purchase over 6 months even if they had the ability to pay today.7
 
And, when considering how to pay for an online or mobile purchase, 68% of Millennial consumers rate ability to pay for their purchase in installments as important.7
 

Buy now, pay later is a category that’s expected to continue to grow. Millennials want more cash flow7, and offering them a payment option that spreads the cost of a purchase over time can be increasingly important to help grow your sales from this customer segment. 
 
Bridge the gap to bridge millennials.
It's time for marketers to face a hard but important truth: Not all millennials shop alike. You have a valuable opportunity to tap into a unique segment – bridge millennials – by customizing their shopping experiences to meet their needs. This means offering digital, touch-free and direct payment options, so bridge millennials can tap into that spending power and make purchases where they feel comfortable – on digital platforms.

The
 PayPal Commerce Platform helps make direct selling easy. It's built to help you simplify purchases, drive revenue, and accept payments from customers across the globe – all from one platform. They can even use it to set up subscription memberships and recurring payments, so customers know they can always return to buy directly from their favorite brand.
 

 

1–3. How We Will Pay 2019 Edition, PYMNTS.com study of 5,000 U.S. consumers, September 2019.

4. US Direct-to-Consumer Ecommerce Sales Will Rise to Nearly $18 Billion in 2020, eMarketer, April 2020.

5-6. Report: How We Shop – Measuring the Rapid Digital Shift, PYMNTS.com and PayPal study of 2,163 U.S. consumers, September 2020.

7.  Online study commissioned by PayPal and conducted by Logica Research in May 2020 involving 2,000 U.S. consumers, half were PayPal Credit users and half were non-PayPal Credit users. Respondents who self-identified as millennials: n= 825

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