New study shows Millennials and Gen Z lazy compared to older generations

Lyndall Spooner, Chief Executive Officer, Fifth Dimension Consulting

Australian strategic research and consulting agency, Fifth Dimension, has released new groundbreaking research that shows Millennial and Gen Z consumers are undertaking less research when making complex buying decisions than their predecessors. The research undertaken by Fifth Dimension during the first quarter of 2022 explored the degree to which consumers invest time and energy into researching products as part of the path to purchase.

Founded by Lyndall Spooner, a highly acclaimed expert in strategy, research and customer experience (CX) with over 25 years of experience, Fifth Dimension Consulting is a respected strategic research and consulting agency that has amassed a distinguished portfolio of clients including: Westpac, Coles, HCF, Telstra, Foxtel, Colgate and the Commonwealth Bank.

How do the age groups compare when making decisions?

“What we found was quite disturbing. When making more complex buying decisions, older consumers such as those in the Generation X and Baby Boomer categories were more likely to do their own research and analyse the intricacies of product offerings more than their younger counterparts,” Fifth Dimension founder and CEO, Lyndall Spooner commented.

“Millennials and Gen Z are less likely than previous generations to make the effort to do any of their research when making complex buying decisions or take the time to ask questions to fully understand the products on offer. In fact, they were more likely to believe that asking questions when interacting with brands during a buying process was a sign of weakness.”

“A Baby Boomer probably looks at Millennials and Gen Z and thinks they are lazy for not getting more involved in their decision making, when in fact it is not about being lazy but an indictment on the growth of pessimism and apathy in younger generations feeling they themselves cannot achieve as positive life outcomes,” Lyndall Spooner further commented.

“We have seen an increase in pessimism and apathy globally, which negatively impacts confidence and the desire to be curious. Tech and AI is stepping in and taking over the decision process making those who are less confident more vulnerable to being manipulated.”

Why are Millennials and Gen Z reluctant?

The Fifth Dimension research identified that Millennials and Gen Z consumers are less confident making decisions and feel less positive of their future, resulting in being: 

  • Less likely to want to plan ahead,
  • Less likely to want to take responsibility for complex decisions,
  • More likely to outsource their purchase decision-making,
  • More likely to be guided by influencers and online recommendations,
  • Less likely to become brand loyal; and
  • More likely to experience problems after using the product or service.

How is technology impacting decision making?

“The more brands make the buying process easier by enhancing the frictionless path to purchase, the more ‘less confident’ consumers are likely to outsource their decision making to tech and not really think about the appropriateness of their choices,” Ms Spooner added.

According to Spooner, technology is advancing to the point where it is doing a lot of the information processing and decision-making for us, thereby reducing our cognitive resilience and willingness to deal with complex information and problems. Fifth Dimension’s research findings show that this hypothesis is being played out in buying decisions among Millennials and Gen Z who have used technology to help them make decisions their entire lives.  

“In essence, tech is increasingly making more important decisions and we are passively sitting back and being grateful for not having to take on the responsibility ourselves. And what if tech gets it wrong? We are also thankful that we are not the ones that made the wrong decision. The more we allow tech to control our decisions the ‘lazier’ and ‘dumber’ we will become as a race. The concern is – will we even notice?” Ms Spooner concluded.