Trends & Features

9 things you need to know about Millennials

1. Who are they?

First of all, you need to know who Millennials are: There’s a wide variety of definitions as to the date range for a Millennial, Wikipedia cites 13 date ranges between 1976 and 2004. Nine of the 13 suggestions start at 1980-something, and of these, the average start date is 1982 and finish date between 1997 and 2001, making the average cut-off 1999, or age 19. With this 20-plusyear span, there are of courses differences between younger and older millennials. But key characteristics include the fact that this group in their teens to mid 30s are ‘digital natives’, the majority grew up after the internet, social media, and mobile became the norm.

2. They are passionate about health and fitness.

Millennials have a passion for fitness and healthy living. According to an article written by Matt Powell, a well-known American expert in sports retail and adviser at the NPD Group (a global market research firm), ‘This creates a strong interest in athletic and outdoor products. Millennials will be the prime consumer of sports apparel, footwear and equipment in the future.’ And NPD say this is no surprise as 95 per cent of the millennial cohort is active, and nearly 30 per cent identify themselves as a core athlete (three times that of the overall population).

A survey from 2014 revealed that, 81 per cent of millennials (in this case 18 to 34-year-olds) exercise, and that they are also found to be goal-oriented and exercise with a purpose and like to exercise to be tailored, boutique and sociable.

Michelle Ryan, New York Sports Clubs’ chief marketing officer, told the New York Post that when it comes to workouts millennials ‘want camaraderie, to feel like they’re part of a neighbourhood.’

3. Brands should have a purpose, a conscience and sustainability at their core

Research has found that millennials prefer to do business with caring brands, who maintain high standards and a clear commitment to sustainable practises. A study by Elite Daily found that brand loyalty is earned through product quality, good customer experience and the brand’s support for society. In 2015, Nielson published its annual Global Corporate Sustainability Report and revealed that 73 per cent of surveyed millennials prefer to buy from a sustainable source. In a blog for the Huffington Post, entrepreneur Danielle Sabrina, says, ‘Millennials support companies that do good, making social entrepreneurship a smart business model to follow,’ and she added, ‘Seventy per cent of millennials are willing to pay more for a product that makes an impact on issues they care about.’ However, according to a report by Coupon Follow, even though they do value ‘authenticity, local sourcing, ethical production and a great shopping experience,’ nearly 80 per cent were enticed by a bargain, and discount still has a big influence on shopping habits.

4. Inclusivity

Matters Entrepreneur Magazine recently ran a piece with the headline, How to Sell to Millennials? Be Radically Inclusive. Written by Rohit Prakash, the co founder of Townsquared an online community for small businesses, the article includes reference to a study that shows that 20 per cent of millennials identify as LGBTQ, compared to seven percent of baby boomers, and Prakash says, ‘small-business owners should consider which steps they’re taking to express inclusivity as one of their business values’. He suggests simple things like saying, ‘All are welcome’ and allowing staff to express their identity. According to a study by Catalyst of 1,500 workers, inclusivity has a positive effect on business. The more included employees felt, the more they were likely to go beyond the call of duty in the workplace.

5. No to the hard sell

Good content that informs, adds value and doesn’t look like it’s selling to you and trying too hard has become an essential part of any top brand’s marketing strategy. We live in a noisy world where we’re bombarded with information and Millennials don’t respond well to a hard sell. Numerous studies and reports have found that the under 35s listen to their peers, read reviews and only want to hear authentic voices. They don’t respond well to brands who just want their cash, and as stated above, they will be more loyal to companies who have a higher purpose (green and social issues and inclusivity all count).

6. It’s a give and take relationship between the brand and the customer

As we can all interact on social media via our mobile devices, wearables and virtual reality, Millennials have come to expect to be asked for their opinion and even help with product development. ‘It’s what we call the reciprocity principle,’ say The Boston Consulting Group, a company that provides insights and transformations for business. ‘Through the feedback they express both offline and online, Millennials influence the purchases of other customers and potential customers. They also help define the brand itself.’

7. Mobile shopping

The move is to all things mobile, as MckInsey say, ‘Digital commerce is poised to explode, bringing shopping quite literally into the palms of many consumers’ hands. Adding that ‘mobile technologies will increasingly influence every stage of the customer’s shopping journey — from personalized promotions prompted by geotargeting to in-store research and price checks, as well as to payment capabilities that offer checkout options beyond waiting in line.’ And as early adopters of technology, millennials have been the first to embrace payment by mobile and mobile shopping apps. Add to that the use of social media, or ‘social broadcasting’ on mobile devices for football results and even to watch games, and it’s clear that marketing to millennials needs to be optimised for mobile.

8. The streamline customer experience

‘Omnicommerce’ is a new buzzword when talking about millennial shopping experience. It refers to offering the customer a seamless shopping experience across all sales channels, whether in-store or online. Campaign Live says is ‘the next obvious areas for social broadcasters to move into are micro payments to buy tickets and travel discounts to get to games.’ Other omnicommerce experiences could include online shopping lists that can be ticked off in store. And importantly, bargain-hunting millennials want to research online, get a voucher or discount coupon, then view the product and purchase it from their favourite store. In a study by Accenture it was found that ‘68 percent of all Millennials demand an integrated, seamless experience regardless of the channel’ so they can ‘transition effortlessly from smartphone to personal computer to physical store in their quest for the best products and services.’

9. Quick Change

As stated Millennials are digital natives and quick to pick up on the next big thing, whether that be virtual reality, artificial intelligence or a new platform to share their messages, from Facebook to Instagram to snapchat. This group have a thirst for new technology, so as a retailer you need to make sure you share their passion.

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