NPD Group Partners with the Wharton School’s Baker Retailing Center, Launches Study on Cross-Generational Purchasing Behavior

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PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK. Feb. 23, 2016 – The NPD Group Inc., a global information company, has partnered with the Wharton School’s Baker Retailing Center on a study analyzing purchasing behavior of Millennials, Generation X and Boomers. The partnership combines insight by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania’s Baker Retailing Center and NPD Group’s Checkout Tracking data to address retailers’ demand for comprehensive profiles of consumer buying behavior.

“One of the interesting findings is about gift cards,” said Denise Dahlhoff, Research Director at the Wharton School’s Baker Retailing Center. “We found that the share of Millennials’ spending on gift cards at mass merchants, convenience stores, and warehouse clubs is higher than that of other age segments. Meanwhile, GenX shoppers spend a greater share of their department store expenses on gift cards compared to other generations.”

Led by Dahlhoff and NPD Checkout Tracking Director Sarah Wittenborn, the study uses historical purchasing data submitted by the same consumers over time. The research shows distinct differences in purchasing patterns across age groups.

For example, at mass merchants, Younger Millennials, defined as 18- to 24- year-old consumers, have a stronger focus on technology, video games and accessories. Online, they share an affinity for brands such as Apple and GrubHub. When shopping online, Older Millennials between the ages of 25 and 34 spend relatively more through Seamless, a foodservice delivery app, and Asos, among others. The online shopping habits of Boomers, defined as consumers between the ages of 45 and 64, seem to be influenced by their offline preferences. These consumers spend relatively more of their online expenses with department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Macy’s.

“While we can point to key similarities in purchase behavior by generation, there are also distinct purchasing differences within generations.  Generation, life stage, and emerging technology all come together to influence buying decisions.  Understanding how they work together can help retailers to connect more effectively with their existing customer base and win new customers,” said Andy Mantis, EVP, Checkout Tracking for The NPD Group.

Checkout Tracking is the first service that provides detailed information on consumer buying behavior at the market basket level, based on receipts for both online and brick-and-mortar retail purchases from the same individuals over time. The service delivers precise category, brand and item-level purchase detail linked to buyers and their demographics. This allows Checkout Tracking to analyze competitive market baskets and identify patterns by tracking more than 30 million items each month from more than 50,000 consumers from NPD’s receipt-harvesting mobile phone app and the scanning of more than two million active in-boxes for e-receipts.

For more information and to download the report, please visit this link.

About NPD Group
The NPD Group provides market information and analytic solutions that drive better decision-making and better results.  The world’s leading brands rely on us to help them get the right products in the right places for the right people.  Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, diamonds, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, technology, toys, video games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit and

About the Wharton School and the Baker Retailing Center
Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates economic and social value around the world. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 participants in executive education programs annually and a powerful alumni network of 94,000 graduates.

About the Baker Retailing Center at the Wharton School
Established in 2002 through a generous gift by Patty and Jay Baker, Wharton graduate of the class of 1956 and former President of Kohl’s Corporation, the Baker Retailing Center is an interdisciplinary research center at the Wharton School. Its mission is to be a global leader in retail knowledge and education through cutting-edge academic research, academic-industry programs, student and alumni activities, and global initiatives. The Center’s industry advisory board features leading retail executives from the U.S. and overseas.