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The Next World: How Millennials Will Shape Retail By Vasco Brinca

The Next World: How Millennials Will Shape Retail By Vasco Brinca

The following is an article by Vasco Brinca originally posted on 

Around the world, the view of the “typical” consumer is being turned upside down as the first wave of millennials begin to reach their peak buying power. Millennials are a significant demographic cohort in almost every global market, and in the United States they already account for an estimated $1.3 trillion in annual spending. This impact is only positioned for growth.

In a recent global study of more than 7,000 millennials and Gen Xers, Daymon Worldwide has identified the top five traits of millennial shoppers that retailers and brands must recognize. Millennials are:

  • The worldwide sharing tribe: Millennials crave meaningful experiences they can share via social media.
  • Eating to be healthy/social-driven diets: Millennials are health conscious and more willing to follow diets based on their beliefs (e.g., animal welfare).
  • Eco(nomic) consumers: Millennials are driven by ecological values (e.g., sustainability) but also economic factors (e.g., price).
  • Unstructured shoppers: Millennials’ shopping trips are less planned and often tied to immediate needs or moods.
  • Brand disaffected: Millennials are less brand loyal and more willing to try private brands, particularly those with a good price/quality ratio.

There are numerous ways in which retailers can — and must — adapt to the millennial consumer. Keeping millennials’ affinity for technology and experiences in mind, retailers should look to start adopting new in-store technologies in order to provide a relevant and engaging personal shopping experience.

For example, retailers are using interactive displays to respond to and engage with shoppers based on their movements. Others are opening pop-up shops where visitors can use virtual reality headsets to create their ideal living space from items in the retailer’s homeware collection. Engaging with millennials in-store with something that can be shared via social media allows for a shopping trip to become an experience.

The next step to connecting with this generation is to develop a robust omnichannel strategy that makes millennial consumers’ lives easier. The most complex omnichannel strategies can engage with the consumer through many different anchors — e.g., online education, social responsibility through social media, innovation through crowdsourcing — and offer multiple digital solutions. This meets the needs of millennials on multiple levels, such as peer-to-peer engagement, meeting ecological values, always-on connectivity and more.

Millennials are driving not just a reinvention, but a full revolution of the retail industry. The generations that follow will certainly be influenced and driven by many of the same beliefs and attitudes that make millennials different from previous generations. Ultimately, millennials are pioneers of the new world — and retail — paradigm.

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