Have you noticed distinct differences between your own shopping habits and those of generations before and after yours? 

If you take a step back and look at the data, there are clear differences. 

Hubspot dives deep into each generation’s online shopping habits in their 2022 State of Consumer Trends Report. We break down the takeaways most relevant to the real estate industry—from HubSpot and other sources. 

How each generation shops and learns about brands reveals the marketing tactics most likely to reach them. You’ll know where they hang out online and how to get their attention. 

The rest is up to you. 

Five generations of homebuyers

First, an overview of the generations, according to Pew Research and Statista

  • Gen Z represents anyone aged 18 to 24. In 2021, they represented the smallest percentage (2%) of U.S. homebuyers. 
  • Millennials, aged 25 to 35, represent the largest group of prospective homebuyers. Older Gen Y Millennials represented the largest share (25%) of U.S. homebuyers in 2021, while younger Millennials represented 18%. 
  • Gen X ages range from 35 to 54, and they represented 22% of U.S. homebuyers in 2021. 
  • Boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964. Young Boomers represent 17% of homebuyers and older Boomers 12% of the total. 
  • The Silent Generation (born 1928 to 1945) sits at just 4% – two percentage points above Gen Z. 

Email marketing and the personal touch

Don’t believe anyone who tells you email is dead. According to Data Axle’s marketing report, email is still the number one marketing channel for all generations except Gen Z, which has a strong preference for social media

It’s also worth noting that 81% of consumers, across all generations, want personalized communications from the brands they buy and work with. The percentage is highest for Gen Z (87%) and Millennials (88%). 

Personalized engagement builds loyalty in 96% of consumers. And 84% are more likely to respond to advertising from brands that communicate with them via social media or other channels.

This is why building your email list is so critical. 

Top Social Media Apps by Generation

If you don’t already have an active presence on social media to share content with your clients, prospects, and fellow real estate agents, it’s time to start building one. 

When it comes to Gen Z, 63% prefer social media as a place to connect with brands. Millennials are close behind, with nearly half wanting to engage with brands on social media—compared to less than 20% of Boomers. 

Just under a third of Gen Zers (29%) and Millennials (30%) say they’re more likely to buy from a brand with a social media presence. Only 19% of Gen X and 11% of Boomers have the same expectation. 

As for the top social media apps for each generation…

  • Gen Z: Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok
  • Millennials: Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram
  • Gen X: Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram 
  • Boomers: n/a (more on that in a bit)

Every Generation uses YouTube

So, where is each generation most likely to learn about new products and services?

YouTube is the number one channel for product research, with 29% of all survey respondents using it to learn more about brands and what they offer before making a purchase. Facebook comes in second at 21% and Instagram follows at 10%. 

With the growing popularity of YouTube Shorts, realtors have an even better opportunity to reach younger homebuyers with their brand, using short-form vertical videos. 

Generational Shopping Habits

Now, let’s take a closer look at each generation’s shopping habits, according to HubSpot’s State of Consumer Trends Report

The sole purpose here is to help you as a real estate agent market your services effectively to your target audience. If they don’t see you, they won’t know what you can do for them. 

So, what do you need to know?

  • Gen Z: Social media, YouTube ads, and internet searches are the top three ways they learn about new products and services. TikTok and Instagram are the social media apps used most by Gen Z women, while Gen Z men spend more time on YouTube. Gen Z is also more likely than any other generation to expect companies to take a public stand on social issues. One out of two Gen Zers wants to see brands speak out—especially on racial justice, LGBTQIA+ rights, gender equality, and climate change. 
  • Millennials: Millennials learn about new products and services mainly through social media, internet searches, and YouTube ads. A full 50% of Millennials have learned about new products and services on social media in the past 90 days. For 59%, that’s where they’re most likely to discover new products and brands.
  • Gen X: Though social media isn’t Gen X’s preferred channel for product research—those being internet searches, TV ads, and retail stores—it is where they’re most likely to learn of new products and brands. Nine out of ten Gen Xers use social media, with Facebook being their favorite, closely followed by YouTube and Instagram. 
  • Boomers: Boomers prefer TV ads, internet searches, and retail stores for learning about new products and brands. Social media is more or less a non-issue with this generation. For context, 62% say television ads are how they most often discover new products and brands. But chances are, they’ll still look you up online, with 40% of Boomers preferring online searches over other channels. And in contrast to younger generations, 50% of Boomers are against brands speaking out on social issues. 

What can you do?

As a real estate agent, getting in front of new prospects—and as many as possible every day—is essential to not only staying in business but thriving in a tough market. 

Knowing where your audience hangs out and what they like to see in a brand can only help you connect with more of them and deliver exactly what they’re looking for.