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Millennials – breaking down the stereotypes

Of all the demographics with economic status, Millennials have without doubt attracted the most attention. The economic circumstances they have grown up with may have limited their options in some areas, but as shoppers Millennials present a tremendous opportunity for the right kind of engagement.

Of all the demographics with economic status, Millennials have without doubt attracted the most attention. Characterised by the media as unwilling to take on responsibility and primarily concerned with promoting trend-led lifestyle images on social platforms, the term ‘Millennial’ is unfairly used as a watchword for having a disregard for the past and a lack of ambition for the future.

In truth, according to research by leading analysts at Pew, those born between 1981 and 1996 have proved themselves to be:

  • Better educated than earlier generations, with a balance in achievement between men and women
  • Part of a more diverse and accepting community
  • Committed to their jobs and progressing in their careers

The Millennial mindset

The economic circumstances they have grown up with may have limited their options in some areas such as owning property, but as shoppers millennials present a tremendous opportunity for the right kind of engagement.

Motivator: curated lifestyle

While most Millennials do not live up to thehipsters who spend their all their cash on avocado toast and vinyl’ cliché, there is a grain of truth in the idea that many make purchases that say something about the way they live. According to GlobalWebIndex, 77% of this demographic want to feel like they’re part of a community when they shop – they’re aware of their ‘personal brand’ and want to make sure what they buy reflects this.

Retail opportunity

Retailers who are willing and able to have a conversation about what they offer, from advice before buying to after-care and follow-up communications, will be in a good position to engage Millennials. That means equipping store associates with the tools that give them access to every aspect of the customer’s profile – preferences, wishlist, past purchases – as well as product details so that they can have a full and informed exchange of ideas and advice. This is particularly true when it comes to lifestyle purchases such as home décor and furniture – they may not own their home, but they can seek out pieces to enhance how they feel about themselves, and are looking for guidance to get the right look and atmosphere.

Motivator: buying goods that are built to last

This demographic is cost-conscious, but willing to go outside their budget to find the perfect item. As demonstrated by the growth in purchases of vintage items among Millennials, they tend to want to know that what they’re buying will last – details about materials sourcing, manufacturing and ethical production all play an important part in the buying decision.

Retail opportunity

Openness and transparency is key to winning over the Millennial shopper – make full details about your entire range, complete with manufacturing and sustainability information, available to them whenever they need it, whether they’re in-store or having a virtual consultation. Store associates with all the facts at their fingertips will be able to handle every question and provide everything the customer needs so that they can be sure they’ve made the right decision. 

Motivator: ease and convenience

As the first demographic that contains a number of ‘digital natives’, Millennials are used to the speed and simplicity of using technology to browse and order goods at a time when it’s convenient to them. They’re accustomed to being able to access shopping services that fit in with their lifestyle, and generally expect retailers to accommodate that expectation.

Retail opportunity

Flexibility is at the heart of this opportunity – if recent safe retail measures have taught us anything, it’s that flexible fulfilment including click & collect and BOPAK has proven its worth, and the majority of retailers who introduced product pick-up and returns on the customers’ terms over lockdown have committed to offering these services as a permanent feature. For Millennials, being able to choose when and where they collect their purchases is fundamental to their experience – they would expect it as standard.

Contrary to what the headlines would have us believe, most Millennials have demonstrated that they are thoughtful about their purchases, concerned about building a long-term lifestyle and willing to engage in meaningful dialogue with retailers. Sharing information, offering an informed choice and being flexible about their experience will all help to keep them engaged.

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Red Ant, 2nd September 2020
Millennials present a tremendous opportunity as shoppers

Related resource

Gen X – don’t overlook the ‘forgotten generation’

Sandwiched between the meme-worthy Baby Boomers and the headline-making Millennials, Generation X can be forgiven for feeling neglected.