Decoding Millennial Shopping Traits & Habits

Decoding Millennial female shopping habits has become an obsession for companies, marketers, researchers and bloggers alike. Because this group is so large, the Millennial female is seen as the present and future of retail and understanding her is key to their success. There is endless hypothesis on what she wants and how she shops.

Millennials represent almost a quarter of the US population.

Millennials represent almost a quarter of the US population.

Who are Millennials?

According to the US Census Bureau Millennials are people born between 1982 and 2000. That makes them 33 to 15 years old. This group represents 83.1 million people and is more than one quarter of the US population. Baby Boomers, the formerly largest population group, is those born between 1946 and 1964. They are ages 69 to 51. Obviously Baby Boomers are getting smaller as the group ages. However they are still a large group and the wealthiest population in US history, so cannot be overlooked, by retailers.

Defining Millennial people ranging in age 15-33 as one homogeneous group, has it’s pitfalls. The life stages of teen priorities versus a young adult building a grown-up life, are quite different.

Teen’s lives focus on their school career, friends, social events, sports and maybe a part-time job. They generally want to “fit-in” with peers. Their money is mostly spent on fashion, technology and entertainment.

Young adults post-college, are socializing, building careers, getting married, setting up first homes and having children. They are socially influenced, but with maturity, they lean more toward more individualism. They are entering the part of their lives when they start to be adult consumers for wedding services, home goods, cars, insurance, housing, etc.

There are some generalizations you can make for all Millennials:

  • They are very budget conscious and serious deal seekers. Obviously, teens have limited spending power. Young adults are coping with weak employment, stagnant wages, unprecedented school debt and dealing with rapidly rising rents, as they start making larger, adult life purchases.
  • They are digitally savvy. The younger Millennials have grown up with technology all their lives.
  • Because of technology they access information and discover new brands continuously. They are very informed, brand aware and also brand agnostic for many items. They move on quickly to the next big thing.
  • They are very influenced by peers through social media and word-of-mouth.
  • They love to “share” the shopping experience.
  • They are more racially diverse than previous generations, because of immigration and higher birth rates in some groups. According to the US Census, 44.2 percent of Millennials are part of a minority race or ethnic group (other than non-Hispanic white).

Big Shifts in Retail Because of Millennials

It is no wonder why certain shopping channels or habits, have risen dramatically in the past several years, as they are driven by Millennial shoppers:

  • Fast Fashion: This frugal, diverse group has driven the meteoric rise of fast fashion stores such as Forever 21, H&M, Zara, Old Navy and will ensure the success of US newcomer Primark. These fast turning, cheap stores are just what the budget conscious Millennial wants. She can find a wide range of looks to meet her diverse cultural tastes. Being brand agnostic for apparel, the deal is more important than the label.
  • Online and brick and mortar consignment stores: The market for consignment of apparel, handbags accessories, jewelry and shoes is booming. This is a perfect solution for the budget conscious and brand aware Millennial. She can consign her discards on the same site as she picks up used, pricey branded items at a fraction of the cost. See sites such as Poshmark, ThredUp and Tradesy.
  • Rental fashion sites: Millennials drive the sharing economy. These tight-fisted, brand aware females get the brands they love on rental or rent to purchase sites of designer, everyday, wedding, plus size and maternity clothes such as Rent The Runway, Le Tote, Mine for Nine, Gwynnie Bee and Borrowing Magnolia.
  • Mass customization: The individualist Millennial has driven the trend of brand customization online for apparel, sneakers, handbags, jewelry, etc.
  • Social shopping: Millennials love to share… their photos, purchases, experiences and thoughts, like no generation before. Social sharing sites like Instagram, SnapChat, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. give them a platform for approval or to boast about their fashion finds. They can shop while simultaneously sending photos to friends for approval. They can see what friends are already wearing, too.
  • They do their research: This is the information generation. They do their homework online before making a purchase. They scout out the best deals, look for coupons and comparison shop to stretch their budget. More often than not they make the final purchase in-store however. E-commerce has grown tremendously, but brick and mortar sales still represent over 90% of retail sales.

In review, if targeting the Millennial customer you have to consider her life stage and culturally diverse tastes. She can’t be thought of as like-minded thinkers. Millennials  like to engage with brands that share their values, but can be brand agnostic and fickle. This is the greatest information and sharing generation, that loves to score a great deal.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting, Boston-based, product development, creative, branding, business consulting and executive coaching for apparel, footwear, home & consumer products companies and retail analysts. Follow me to get the latest posts

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Vintage & Novelty Denim Trending For Fall 2015

For fall 2015, there is a resurgence in denim, the all-American fashion staple. Novelty jeans, new silhouettes and denim-related, casual dressing are refreshingly new again. I call this fashion trend “American Vintage”.

We never quite fall out of love with denim. After several years of down-trending due to the growth of athleisure, jean sales are starting to perk up again. Surely women will not drop their comfy activewear bottoms for good, however. They have become staples in and out of the gym, with fashion brands offering a wide range of comfortable knit and woven gym pants, way beyond basic yoga pants and leggings.

Also, polyester/spandex pants are practically indestructible, but women’s wardrobes may be reaching critical mass with these long-lasting pants, just as they were with high-quality, premium denim jeans.

Flares, ripped, handcrafted and vintage denim looks are trending for fall 2015.

Flares, ripped, handcrafted and vintage denim looks are trending for fall 2015.

The return of the flare bottom and higher-rise waists, as well as novelty handcrafted, patchworked, ripped, distressed and embellished denim, is giving women new reasons to buy jeans again, after years of skinny jean dominance. I particularly like jeans from Frame, Rag and Bone, RtA Denim and Current Elliott. Flares will gain steam going into 2016.

Look for easy tees, plaid shirts, romantic tops, chambray and denim shirts. Retro vulcanized sneakers and high-tops complement the vintage vibe. The palette is a classic range of washed blues, khaki and whites.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting, Boston-based, product development, creative, branding, business consulting and executive coaching for apparel, footwear, home & consumer products companies and retail analysts. Follow me to get the latest posts

Thank you for liking and sharing this, if you enjoyed the post!

Flaming Hot – Warm Color Trend in Home & Fashion

Go from the frying pan into the fire. Flaming hot maraschino, tomato, mandarin and pumpkin colors are trending in home décor and fashion accessories for fall 2015. These in-your-face, sizzling shades are creating fashion flare-ups everywhere they go.

This powerful fall color trend is best used in small does for maximum effect. In home furnishings warm, bright colors are on pillows, sheets, towels, lamps, rugs, vases, tabletop, etc. They add a playful pop and seasonal update to neutral rooms and tablescapes. They look especially good when paired with greys. clean white and navy.

Warm colors add serious pop to home décor and fall 2015 fashion.

Warm colors add serious pop to home décor and fall 2015 fashion.

Hot, bright colors say uber-sexy or athletic, like no others, on fashion accessories or apparel. A red-hot handbag, pair of shoes, lingerie, dress, puffer, jean, top or nail color has the power to steal scenes. Again, restraint is key here, overdoing can send you down in fashion flames. Pair best with neutrals, denim, navy and black.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting, Boston-based, product development, creative, branding, business consulting and executive coaching for apparel, footwear, home & consumer products companies and retail analysts. Follow me to get the latest posts

Thank you for liking and sharing this, if you enjoyed the post!

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