Generational differences play a big role in how consumers shop, however they are also united by current trends spanning across the generations, said lifestyle guru and trend forecaster Tom Mirabile.

“It’s a complex world with three unique adult spending generations,” Mirabile said during a presentation at the 2015 International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago. “Price, service and design all have divergent meanings to each generation.”

Generation Y are still defining their style, they are more sensitive to price, they desire authenticity in their purchases and are generally design savvy, Mirabile said. He also made clear that it is a myth that Gen Y only shop online, saying they love to shop retail, especially in an interactive environment where different items are grouped together.

Generation X is largely the family generation and are more focused on trading up or making their lives more efficient, Mirabile said. They are looking for opportunities to improve their personal and their family’s well-being, increase connectivity and take part in experiences such as learning and adventure.

Boomers, on the other hand, are at a point where they are repurposing what they have and downsizing.

Mirabile said it is also important to look at the commonalities between the three different generations,  for example a desire for global stewardship, interest in health and wellness, a shift in trust from retail or brand-generated content to consumer-generated content, a search for “the good life” (a back to basics approach to family, friends, home and life), thoughtful consumption, life balance goals and a desire for personalised products and marketing.

Value can mean different things to different generations, but “across all generations, the newest component of value is the story,” said Mirabile. “The story is incredibly important.”  Among the ways manufacturers can deliver value is with design that is on-trend and with products that give consumers what they are looking for today:  artisanal details, healthy environments, home solutions, social experiences and flexibility.

Another important element is enabling consumers to be creative and take part in interesting experiences for example, products that allow consumers to experiment with current food trends. Retail stores that create environments that allow consumers to interact with products will also be successful, he said.