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The Most Demanding Consumers - the Millennials

Millennials Retail

Here, at Black Pepper, we are not just about solving complex technical problems. Sure, we love doing that, but we’re also keen on making sure that the technical solution we deliver fits the business challenge our clients have. That’s why we take the time to understand the sectors our clients are at the forefront of and all the challenges they may face. Our brilliant Retail Account Director, Bright Masih, had a few thoughts on one of the most challenging (but crucial) target audience segments where retailers are concerned:

Millennials are the segment that retailers need to think long and hard about, as there will be over 17 million of them by 2019 and already they make up one quarter of the UK population. The “Millennial” label refers to consumers who are between 12 and 34 years old, born between the 1980s and 2000s. They frequently live at home or house share with their friends, many do not have any children and have grown up with and on the internet. Working millennials have plenty of disposable income because they do not have the usual challenges of mortgage or children, which makes them a lucrative demographic sector for retailers and one that is important to understand and take seriously.

Retailing effectively to Millennials is complex and requires an approach built on extensive research and understanding. As a sector of the UK consumer pie, they have very different needs and are potentially less forgiving and often labelled, deservingly or not, the “want it now” or “I deserve it” generation. Initiatives such as Click & Collect, Uber & Amazon Now, to name but a few, suit this demographic because they perceive themselves as busy and technologically very savvy. Primarily, social media and social content designed to be rapidly consumed and instantly shared are key to effectively targeting millennials. Clever marketing departments get this and create and expedite campaigns that enable fast consumption and sharing pushed through social media channels, with content being to the point and highly visual, while a lot of the messages are collaboratively formed, crowdsourced and authentic.

Remarkably, recent studies show millennials also have values which are in opposition to their narcissistic labelling and stereotyping. An example of this is that, on the whole, millennials value memories over commodities as concluded in an Inkling white paper. Furthermore, millennials value health, with mental health of highest ranking, closely followed by physical health and spiritual well-being. Millennials also have more defined religious/righteous beliefs and attitudes when compared to baby boomers or Generation Xers with giving to charity, spending time with friends and being close to family all perceived as important.

Millennials value recommendations, particularly from trusted friends and family. This sector is super-well informed and is hyperconnected, it understands online better than any other. Millennials know tech and expect brands to get that as well as being plugged into who and whatever is hot for their age group at any given time. Younger millennials set and dictate trends and are on the pulse; they expect retailers to be too, with technology brands such as Apple and Samsung finding the sweet-spot. Millennials are complex, ethical and intellectual. Retailers have no choice but to understand what makes them tick if they are going to connect. Brands need to understand millennials and their sub-categories to hit the mark or miss at their peril.