We live in the era of remote purchase. As the years go by, and the buying public becomes increasingly composed of people who have never lived without the internet, people are buying in brick and mortar retailers much less frequently. Now, brick and mortar won’t go away any time soon. But if you are a merchant, however large or small, your web and mobile retailing strategy has to be on point if you hope to compete. A recent study by USIO further confirms this now-axiomatic truth.

The digital shopping revolution didn’t happen all at once. But its steady increase into the way Americans and Westerners buy has surprised no one who pays attention. According to USIO, mobile shopping is the fastest growing segment, though consumers are using everything with a screen to buy the things they need. Take a look at some of these statistics to get a better picture of who is buying what, and how.

Among all respondents in the study, desktop shopping was still far and away the most popular, with over 51% of those surveyed using it as their most frequent shopping method. In second place was smartphones and other small mobile devices, with nearly 28% using this for most shopping. In last place were the tablet users, with just over 21% using their iPad or whatever to buy the things they need.

But these stats bely some of the more nuanced details about consumer behaviors by generation. In might not surprise you to know that people of different ages use different tools to shop. What may surprise you is how different they are! A majority of those aged 25-34 used their smartphone more than any other device when shopping. This was the only age group that used mobile devices so frequently. Even their younger brothers and sisters, the 18-25 group, used desktop units for shopping more than their smartphones.

But let’s compare these numbers to their parents and grandparents. Only about 20% of 45-54 year olds used mobile devices for shopping more than other alternatives. For those over 65, that number dropped to just over 6%.

Consumer tech behavior is a moving target. Looking at the 18 year olds compared to the 30 year olds, it’s impossible to tell if the higher mobile use for the latter group is the peak of the mobile tech revolution, or if the younger group simply hasn’t caught up yet. These are the sorts of questions that major web and mobile retailers ask themselves. Answering correctly, and building the best possible customer experience on the best possible technology platform, is the code they are trying to crack.

For smaller retailers, these questions are no less important. For people trying to build a strong retailing brand, or even to beat out their direct competition, it’s vital to meet your customers where they are, digitally speaking. Statistics like the above can give you a clue about where your consumer demographic shops and buys. By creating an engaging experience in these arenas, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in the future.