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Millennials & Gen Z’s 10 Favorite Places to Shop Online

Their online shopping preferences have changed everything in retail. But which online retailers are winning their clicks? We asked 1000 13-35-year-olds to tell us, regardless of category, what their favorite place to shop online really is…

Online shopping has changed everything for retailers, forcing them to scale back footprints, and rethink the brick-and-mortar experience. Brands like JC Penney, Ralph Lauren, Toys R Us, and Aeropostale are abandoning their flagship locations, some even taking financial hits to break leases. E-commerce and social media have made the idea of the flagship as a brand-boosting status symbol/marketing tool unnecessary. Instead, smaller more “financially prudent” locations are being favored.

Millennials have arguably been the driving force behind these changes. They’ve been quick to embrace that online shopping life, and even though the majority tell us they prefer to shop in-store, especially for clothing, the lure of online shopping carts and ease of delivery is too tempting to resist. They’re just as likely to shop online monthly as they are to shop in a discount store, and their click-and-buy tendency is shifting entire seasons of shopping. This year, according to eMarketer, a major boost is predicted for holiday season sales—but mostly online. While total retail sales are expected to grow just 3.1%, ecommerce is predicted to jump nearly 17%, widening the “gap” between the two. (Which we saw among Millennials last year.)

So which retailers are winning their clicks? To keep tabs on young consumers’ online shopping behavior and preferences, in our recent shopping and fashion survey, we asked 1000 13-35-year-olds to tell us, “Regardless of category, what is your favorite place to shop online?”* Here are their top answers, ranked:

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of places to shop online that Millennials and Gen Z say are favorites—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most popular. The lists are ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred.

What Is Their Favorite Place to Shop Online?


  1. Amazon
  2. Ebay
  3. Walmart
  4. Forever 21
  5. Target
  6. Etsy
  7. Macy’s
  8. Sephora
  9. American Eagle
  10. Wish

Did you expect any different? Amazon was, for another year, Millennials and Gen Z’s top named favorite place to shop online. We’ve told you about young consumers’ love affair with the site before, and that it also made BOTH the list of overall brands Millennials & Gen Z think are most innovative, and the non-tech brands they think are most innovative. One 29-year-old male said, “They are constantly creating or improving products, including ones that you don’t normally associate with them. Kindle. Fire TV. Drones. Cloud Storage. Moving Trucks.” But when it comes to just being a place to shop, one word encapsulates Millennials and Gen Z’s preference for the site: “everything.” One female 18-year-old told us it’s her favorite place to shop because, “Amazon has everything literally.” By rough estimate, half of the respondents who named Amazon as their favorite place to shop online included some form of “Amazon has everything” in their reason why. Of course, free shipping and Prime were also big mentions. (And we’ve told you that Amazon Prime is already more popular than cable for Millennials.)

We saw a bit more churn among the other retailers on the list past the #1 spot, compared to last year. Ebay held their number two spot, but Etsy fell a bit, and ASOS, Old Navy, and Nordstrom dropped out of the top ten, while Macy’s, American Eagle, and Wish moved into the top ranking.

When comparing groups, there’s still a clear winner: 


Amazon took the top place ranking among males, females, Gen Z, and Millennials, and Ebay came in second for all groups as well. Interestingly, Gen Z is far more likely than Millennials to name purely fashion retailers, while Millennials are looking at one-stop-shop discount retailers. Life stage is likely behind this difference, as Gen Z isn’t as likely to think about buying household goods as older shoppers. 

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.