Gen X pips Boomers to lead online retail spending


Generation X remains the key generational group for online spending, according to analysis by NAB, with an industry expert attributing the finding to Gen X’s easy access to technology.


According to analysis of debit and credit card transactions by NAB and data analytics firm Quantium, Gen X spent more per person in the retail sector in 2012 than any other generation.


Last year, Gen X spent an average of $1,133 every month, while the average Australian spent close to $850. Baby Boomers spent an average of $1,016 per month, while Generation Y spent an average of $828.


The research defines Gen X as people currently aged between 32 and 52. Baby Boomers are defined as those aged between 52 and 66, while Generation Y are those aged between 22 and 32.


In an in-depth report on the NAB Online Retail Sales Index, NAB chief economist Alan Oster said those aged in their 30s and 40s remain the key demographic for online spending.


“The share of spending by age group has remained quite stable since we commenced tracking online retail sales,” the report said.


“In an absolute sense, those in their 40s and younger account for the majority of sales – at around 23% for each group in the year to October 2012.


“However, on a per capita basis, the bulk of spending is recorded among those in their 30s and 40s – with the under 30s age group recording below average spending – like a reflection of their relative lack of purchasing power.”


In addition to the higher levels of income among the older age groups, Russell Zimmerman, of the Australian Retailers Association, says Gen X typically has easier access to technology, hence its propensity to spend online.


“The internet is becoming more and more important to the consumer. We know from PayPal research that people are starting to use smartphones [more frequently],” Zimmerman says.


“What we’re seeing here is more and more people are moving to technology. What was the biggest single selling thing [over the Christmas period] was people milling around Apple stores and technology stores.


“More and more people are using technology. Generation X is using it. That doesn’t surprise me but it will plateau out.


“I think that you’re finding more and more people are getting into this sort of technology, but I don’t think it’s necessarily just the young ones that are doing it.


“I get talking to my parents’ peers and the number of them actually involved in the internet and using the internet absolutely astounds me.


“It’s just that that generation (Generation X) is involved in that technology base through work.”