The magnificent MILLENIAL (MLLNL) generation born b/t 1980± and 2000± is the biggest generation, ever (from 78M to 85M). Additionally, MLLNLS will be the recipients of the largest transfer of wealth (from Boomers) in history (FortPittCapitalGroup) and their current spending power of $600 B will grow to $1.4 T by 2020 (with the oldest MLLNL then being ONLY 43 yrs). WOW! By 2018, MLLNL spending power will surpass that of their parent/grandparent Boomers (Javelin Research through Internet Retailer). While those facts are enlightening, our interest is much, much less complicated and involved. We simply want to know HOW this biggest generation will be shopping THIS holiday season. WHAT they will buy and WHY?

We shall set the stage for their shopping behavior by invoking the “t” word, Technology. MILLENNIALS are 50% more likely than the rest of the pop to tech talk, daily; 25% more likely to chat about tech brands; and, they are likely to talk about shopping, retail, media & entertainment (Columbus Dispatch, Tim Feran), too. No matter what, they will buy more online products than any other generation THIS holiday season (Nielsen). Regarding the golden ring of brand loyalty, the Internet Retailer (Abby Callard) tells us that MLLNLS are more loyal to themselves than to brands or retailers! They are obsessive about determining the price/value component of their likely purchases. As a consequence, it is very difficult to convert these young, savvy shoppers into being brand loyalists. Their info discovery and sharing behaviors further inhibit the formation of brand loyal behavior. Below are the results of a few current studies about the kids and grandkids of Boomers.

Instant Logic found that:

  • 4 of 5 MLLNLS shop “directly” from their mobile devices.
  • 55% use “multiple” mobile devices to shop.
  • 65% will shop from home with 35% shopping while “on the go.” (71% of those “at home” shoppers are women which means that almost 3 in 10 home shoppers are men.)
  • 55% couldn’t live w/o pics of their prospective purchases when online shopping.
  • 68% won’t even wait 5 sec for a pg to load on a mobile device, b-4 canceling the “purchase” to be.

About 8 mos ago, a Merchant Warehouse & RetailPro International (MW & RPI) study revealed that:

  • MLLNLS increasingly, used their mobile devices as “shopping mentors” with 60% doing pre purchase research through retailer websites. MLLNLS are “heatseaking missiles” for info.
  • ½ of MLLNLS said they would ONLY be willing to go to retailers whom offered at least a 20% off coupon.
  • MLLNLS are ahead of the curve in favoring omnichannel 53% want that seamless experience though they note that retailers’ sites often lack extensive functionality.
  • Over 2/3 of MLLNLS report using debit or credit cards with 1/4 stating that their payments varied among cash, coupons, and cards.
  • While we know the vast majority of MLLNLS shop online, more than 90% of study respondents preferred to buy some products in person. For example, 76% preferred in store for shoes, 73% preferred in store for apparel and 62% chose in store for house goods. (This sounds like a great opportunity to Blk Fri target MLLNLS with special deals)

Most retail pundits have suggested that as a result of the # of “conversations” about Blk Fri & Cyber Mon decreasing (vs 2013) that retail sales for BF & CM may well follow suit. Specifically, these conversations indicate that there will be fewer in store footprints but more online traffic (Apparel Tech & Biz Insight, 10/27/14) on Blk Fri 2014. Convenience & free shipping are receiving more play today than discussions about product prices. Men have generated more Blk Fri & Cyber Mon conversations than women. As for MLLNLS, they have generated a greater % of BF & CM shopping conversations than any other age group comparing 2013 with 2014’s info.


PunchTab (PT) validates some of the NRF’s estimates that MLLNLS will spend more online than any other age group! PT also states that MLLNLS will be shopping more on BF & CM than will Boomers noting though that both groups’ best sources of shopping info will be “Friends & Family. Perhaps, the ray of sunshine for BF 2014 is that while Boomers are tired, MLLNLS may be wired. ”Chelseakrost.com notes that MLLNLS are less annoyed by Xmas Creep than other Americans and are much more incentivized by cause-oriented promos. For ex, Target is teaming with TOMS this holiday season as Target offers a donation of 1 of 3 items ($3 worth of food, $5 blanket, or new shoes) to needy people depending on the TOMS Collection item/items purchased at Target. The earlier mentioned value of coupons to MLLNLS is confirmed by PT which it found that 40% of them said they would be purchase motivated by coupons (vs 30% of the remaining pop). VALUE, VALUE & VALUE! (For those interested, we did an analysis of the NRF’s data [Scope V24, Issue 120] on holiday shopping behavior by age groups including of course the youngest adult age group 18-35 yrs, MLLNLS).


About bernacmd

For over 24 years, University of Detroit Mercy Marketing Professor Michael Bernacchi, Ph.D., J.D, has produced "uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE", a newsletter discussing current "marketing and advertising¹s bends, trends & ends." A well-know fixture in Detroit and national media, UDM's marketing guru has made several appearances on CNN's "Talk Back Live," the Voice of America worldwide radio network (VOA), ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and on the pages of Sports Illustrated, Time, TV Guide, the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, to name a few. At University of Detroit Mercy, he has taught courses in Marketing Management, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Communications, Research and Corporate Social Responsibility and Sports and Entertainment Marketing. Michael Bernacchi can be reached at 313-993-1116 or bernacmd@udmercy.edu. Please appropriately attribute the following for their work on uNDER tHE mIKE-rOSCOPE: Yen Ju Lee Robert Rouse Vidhyasagar Natarajan Eric Baumgardner & Ian Young
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