Millennials. Love or hate them, uttering this generation’s moniker will conjure up some strong imagery. For many, millennials are poster children for the demise of the work ethic; they’re perceived as entitled, whiny, and often come across as ungrateful. While the stereotype is often too narrow and simply untrue, it’s proven difficult to shake for the more than 80 million born between 1980 and 2000 in the U.S.
But what about the other side of the coin? Millennials aren’t just jobless graduates living in their parents’ basements, encumbered with debt. Some are teenagers, some wives, husbands and parents. Some are high-earning professionals. Some even own their own homes.
Millennials and their perspectives on life and work are reshaping business. The retail industry in particular is struggling to understand the generation’s larger trends and shopping habits that seem ubiquitous, regardless of the individual’s stage of life.
On a high level, millennials are pros at value shopping for products, using the internet to their advantage whenever possible. They have an omniscient grasp of prices and promotions and expect the same deals in-store and online. This tendency, combined with the proliferation of smartphones, has led to “showrooming.” In response, retailers are rethinking their shopping experiences and are developing new strategies to keep shoppers in store using tactics like branded music playlists and touting the ability to see and touch the products.
Still, as millennials come into their own financially, they are poised to be a huge force for retailers in the near future. Accenture predicts their spending in the U.S. will grow to $1.4 trillion annually and will represent 30 percent of retail sales by 2020.
For more insights about how millennial shoppers are changing the way retailers do business, download the Spring/Summer 2016 Knowledge Leader magazine.