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Determining behavioural differences of Y and Z generational cohorts in online shopping

Durgesh Kumar Agrawal (ITS School of Management, Ghaziabad, India)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 25 February 2022

Issue publication date: 15 June 2022




The present study aims at examining the behavioural differences of the Y and Z generational cohorts in online shopping for physical products.


Logistic regressions (LRs) were conducted to identify positively significant, negatively significant and insignificant variables/items of shopping motives to determine online shopping behavioural differences of both cohorts.


While shopping online, the Gen Y cohort focuses on rational decisions, and Gen Z derives enjoyment, learning, exploration and has a deal-hunting behaviour. Gen Y incorporates actual shopping experiences shared on social media, is relatively less individualistic and more social, unlike Gen Z youths who significantly value reviews and ratings. Both cohorts carry a high-product risk and sacrifice many hedonic motives. Y and Z cohorts perceive financial risk and a product's performance-related risks, respectively. The Z cohort has an intrinsic passion for digital technology whereas Gen Y uses it purposely. Thus, both have distinctive online shopping behaviours apart from some similarities.

Practical implications

Online retailers can use the findings of this study to develop more effective marketing strategies to serve both the cohorts better who have largely mutually exclusive online shopping behaviours.


The study measured actual behaviours on contemporary and comprehensive variables/items of utilitarian and hedonic motives, and associated perceived risks in online shopping exclusively. Therefore, the results offer significant, realistic and useful theoretical contributions in the present context to the existing literature on the subject matter along with valuable inputs to the practitioners.



This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.


Agrawal, D.K. (2022), "Determining behavioural differences of Y and Z generational cohorts in online shopping", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 50 No. 7, pp. 880-895.



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