- Seventy percent of millennial shoppers are okay with companies tracking their purchases and browsing their shopping behavior if it means they’ll get more targeted communications, according to a study by behavioral marketing firm SmarterHQ cited by Chain Store Age.
- Despite their reputation as online-focused shoppers, 50% of millennials say they prefer shopping in-store. Retailers that don’t offer omnichannel deals to these consumers may miss out, according to the report.
- Although millennials are receptive to having their shopping habits tracked, they don’t want marketers to overdo it. Seventy-four percent said they get frustrated by too many marketing communications, while 70% say they want personalized offers such as sales notification for previously carted products. The report also noted that just 6.5% of millennials consider themselves brand loyal.
Millennials are full of surprises. Although retailers and marketers tend to think of them as an online- and mobile-obsessed generation, a significant percentage — 50%, according to the SmarterHQ report — prefer in-store shopping. And despite their reputation for being brand disloyal, many are fiercely loyal to select brands. According to a 2015 study by news site Elite Daily, 50.5% of millennials say they’re extremely loyal or quite loyal to their preferred brands.
Where and how millennials prefer to shop is also at odds with popular opinion. Case in point: club stores. Although Sam’s Club, Costco and BJ’s primarily serve an older consumer set, these stores have seen an uptick in millennial shoppers recently. In an earnings call last December, Costco CEO Richard Galanti said the company is seeing the average age of its members come down.
Examining why millennials are increasingly shopping for bulk goods in warehouse-style stores is instructive for marketers. For starters, club operators like Costco offer a fun in-store experience, complete with food samples and frequently rotating merchandise. Older millennials with families are flocking to club stores to buy boxes of diapers, tubs of formula and other baby essentials. Jeff Fromm, a partner with the ad agency Berkley and co-author of “Millennials with Kids,” told Food Dive that his firm found the percentage of millennials with families who shop at club stores is higher than that of the overall U.S. population — 32% versus 26%, respectively.
“They’re not a monolithic group of 80 million consumers, and you can’t think of them that way,” he said in a recent interview.
Awareness that the “millennials” tag may be overly broad is building. Recently, the term “xennials” cropped up as a label for young thirty-somethings who grew up without the internet but are still digitally proficient. These consumers don’t want to be lumped in with their 20-something cohorts, and tend to eschew marketing that treats them like single partygoers with their mobile phone always glued to their hand.
Retailers eager to reach millennial consumers should keep in mind the variations within the wide-ranging demographic. The “millennials” label covers an age range of more than fifteen years, so a one-size-fits-all approach is more likely to miss the mark than a targeted one.