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Millennials: Reshaping the World, One (Cautious) Purchase at a Time

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Keynote presentation by Marian Salzman on Millennial trends. From the International Retail Design Conference’s recent gathering in Cincinnati.

Keynote presentation by Marian Salzman on Millennial trends. From the International Retail Design Conference’s recent gathering in Cincinnati.

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  • 1. Millennialsreshaping the worldone (cautious) purchase at a tiMe Marian Salzman JUNE 2012 @ erwwpr
  • 2. 2 who are Millennials? • Millennials are today’s young adults. • The “millennials” handle—used because this group was in its formative years when the new millennium struck—was established by American generational experts Neil Howe and William Strauss in a book called Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation. • They are also called echo boomers (it’s a big cohort), Generation Next and Generation Me. • Unlikeother much-discussed generations such as boomers and Gen Xers, though, millennials are much more than an American phenomenon; they’re truly global.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 3. 3 Millennials by the nuMbers@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 4. 4 deMographics Age: Definitions vary by source, but 18 to 34 works well, as the U.S. Census Bureau uses groups 18-19, 20-24, 25-29 and 30-34.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 5. 5 deMographics Cohort size: In the U.S., it’s about 70 million to 80 million—roughly 22 percent to 25 percent of the population (Census figures estimate 18-34s at 70.3 million).@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 6. 6 deMographics Ethnic mix: The group is highly diverse. According to Pew, it’s 61 percent white, 19 percent Hispanic, 13 percent black, 4 percent Asian, and 2 percent mixed race or other.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 7. 7 deMographics Marital status: In the 2010 census, 28 percent of 18- to 34-year-old males and 36 percent of females were married; 67 percent of males and 57 percent of females were never married. In the 25-to-29 cohort, 31 percent of males and 42 percent of females were married.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 8. 8 deMographics Life-stage delays: The recession is cited as an important factor by 15 percent of 18-34s who postponed getting married, 14 percent who postponed having a baby, 12 percent who moved in with a roommate and 10 percent who moved back with parents.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 9. 9 deMographics retail iMplications • A big market: Their shopping needs and preferences will make or break retailers currently focused on young adults. • Diversity: Not just discrete ethnic niche markets but also ethnic cross-influencing of tastes and willingness to experiment with different flavors and styles. • Life-stage minuses: Delayed household and family formation mean less demand for new home and baby-related products. • Life-stage pluses:Extended adolescence means more demand for entertainment and leisure products—also influencing the purchasing of their parents.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 10. 10 work and Money Income: Recent Bureau of Labor data shows per capita income in the 21-to- 29 range at $27,267 for singles and $34,046 for married couples.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 11. 11 work and Money Employment: Only 48 percent of 18-24s in the workforce have a full-time job; only 55 percent of people aged 16 to 29 have a job.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 12. 12 work and Money Buying power: ComScore estimates U.S. millennials’ buying power at $170 billion per year. People under age 35, however, are now worth 68 percent less than they were 25 years ago.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 13. 13 work and Money Debt: A 20-somethings’ total debt averages $45,000, ranging from $12,000 for ages 20-21 up to $78,000 for 28- to 29-year-olds who have debt.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 14. 14 work and Money Education debt: Total outstanding student loan debt—federal and private—exceeds $1 trillion.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 15. 15 work and Money retail iMplications • Seasoned consumers: They’ve grown up with consumer hyperabundance as the norm, so they’re familiar with easy spending and retail therapy. • Net less well-off now: Spending longer in education, big debts and struggling to find decent jobs means they’re less able to fund their own retail spending and less willing or able to finance it with debt. • Less well-off long-term: Unemployment means lower starting incomes for graduates and lower incomes in the future—10 percent lower even after 17 years, according to a Yale study. That means that as a cohort, millennials will have relatively less to spend.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 16. 16 deMographics TV advertising: Fewer millennials than non- millennials watch more than 20 hours of TV a week (26 percent vs. 49 percent). But 57 percent of millennials say that TV is the first way they hear about products.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 17. 17 deMographics Automobiles: The percentage of Americans under 19 with a driver’s license declined from 64 in 1998 to 46 in 2008.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 18. 18 deMographics Groceries: Fewer millennials than over-35s prefer grocery chain stores such as Safeway (34 percent vs. 44 percent). Millennials skew more to mass retailers such as Walmart Supercenter (32 percent vs. 27 percent).@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 19. 19 deMographics Beer: More than a quarter (28 percent) of their beer spending is on imported products, vs. 15 percent for other cohorts. Mexican beers account for 46 percent of millennials’ import purchases, compared with 35 percent for older cohorts.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 20. 20 in the Market retail iMplications • TV advertising: To influence millennials, it must entertain and engage to build awareness. Forget the hard sell unless it’s fun. • Big-ticket items:With less ready cash, millennials will think harder about which pricey products they buy and the value they get from them. • Cheap on necessities: Managing with less cash/credit makes millennials more inclined to patronize retailers and brands that make their dollars go further. • Affordable luxuries: This group has grown up with cool stuff and high consumer expectations, so they will splurge on some feel-good premium products that don’t break the bank.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 21. 21 Influence and loyalty Brand choice influences: Almost two-thirds (61 percent) of U.S. 18-25s prefer to buy from companies with a reputation for having a purpose other than just profits, according to a Euro RSCG social media survey in 2010.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 22. 22 influence and loyalty Consulting mobile: Far more millennials than non-millennials use a mobile device to read user reviews and to research products while shopping (50 percent versus 21 percent).@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 23. 23 influence and loyalty Retail loyalty programs: Seventy-seven percent of U.S. millennials participate in loyalty programs, and 78 percent are more likely to choose a brand that offers one over a brand that doesn’t.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 24. 24 influence and loyalty Location-based promotions: Thirteen percent of millennials have responded to location- based offers delivered by smartphone; 26 percent would like their smartphone to replace plastic loyalty cards.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 25. influence 25 and loyalty retail iMplications • More trade-offs: It’s harder for millennials to choose—they want not only good prices but also a good retail experience and a good conscience. They need help. • Mobile help: Solutions and answers (information, reviews, recommendations, promotions, payments) come to millennials through their mobile device, so retailers must think, act and live mobile to connect. • Good-enough brands: To get into millennials’ consideration set, a brand doesn’t need to be impossibly virtuous, just be known to have its heart in the right place.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 26. 26 attitudes@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 27. 27 1. brands are personal@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 28. 28 “Millennials are tending to define themselves by the products they buy.… they tend to see their stuff as extensions of who they are, ways that they define themselves.” —Paul Kelly, Smallyouthgroup.com@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 29. 29 “Millennials are highly sophisticated brand managers; they can detect bullshit. brands have to act with transparency, accountability and honesty. (h/t @cajunjen)” —Viacom’s Scratch blog@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 30. 30 1. brands are personal • Throughout millennials’ lives, brands have been presenting themselves as a means of self-expression and self-definition. • Millennials are open-minded, so they accept that brands can play this role—but they’re also demanding, so they want to know a lot about the brands that want to represent them. • Tooled up with social media and multiple viewpoints, millennials are adept at looking through the marketing moves and getting a sense of what the brand is really about, its truth. • This matters to them because they use brands to identify, express and support what they find personally important. Using brands that embody their values makes them feel good about themselves.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 31. 31 1. brands are personal retail iMplications • Not all brands need to have a deeper meaning. In commodity categories, millennials don’t feel their brand choice is an important personal statement. • But brands that particularly want to connect with millennials and identify with them must understand the importance of being authentic, real. • Thisdoesn’t mean being goody-two-shoes, holier-than-thou. There’s plenty of range for being dark, subversive, ironic or whatever, provided it’s authentic and self-aware.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 32. 32 2. optiMistic and realistic@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 33. 33 “the Millennial generation will entirely recast the image of youth from downbeat and alienated to upbeat and engaged—with potentially seismic consequences for america.” —Neil Howe and William Strauss, Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 34. 34 “boomers have given them the confidence to be optimistic about their ability to make things happen, and Xers have given them just enough skepticism to be cautious…. if you want to remember just one key word to describe millennials, it’s realistic” —Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman, When Generations Collide@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 35. 35 2. optiMistic and realistic • This generation is acutely aware of the real and potential problems facing them and the world. • The message that things need to change has reached them loud and clear: Very large numbers think they have a duty to change the world—84 percent of them in a 2011 five-country survey carried out for Euro RSCG. • They have no illusions about the scale of the problems, but they believe they can tackle the challenges with education, collaboration, technology and smarts. • General can-do optimism stands out as one of the signature attitudes of the millennial generation.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 36. 36 2. optiMistic and realistic retail iMplications • Optimistic plus realistic is a smart way to communicate with millennials. • An upbeat tone chimes in with their own optimistic feelings about their prospects in the world. They feel in tune with brands that mirror their can-do confidence. • But they shy away from hype and inflated claims. Going over the top risks insulting their intelligence and marketing savvy.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 37. 37 3. buy Value to last@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 38. 38 “when i purchase something, i want to know that it’s going to last for a while. i don’t know, maybe it’s just the nostalgia of getting things handed down to me from my parents and grandparents and the history they had, but it makes me sad to think that our generation’s purchases won’t go through the same ordeal—everything’s ‘insta-use’ and once it’s used, it’s gone.” —Brittney, 21, Seattle, on Millennial Inc. by Mr Youth and Intrepid@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 39. 39 3. buy Value to last • As children and adolescents, they’ve lived through the long consumer boom with its cycles of upsizing homes in the suburbs to accommodate more purchases. • Eitherpersonally or nationally, they’ve seen the trauma of overextended credit, families facing foreclosure and desperate yard sales of possessions. • Now as young adults, they’re drawn to more urban settings where the living spaces are smaller. • They don’t have the money or the space or the need for a lot of possessions; they buy versatile essentials and make them last.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 40. 40 3. buy Value to last retail iMplications • Product lines and retailers that depend on impulse purchases are going to struggle with millennials; compared with older generations, they’ll buy less often and spend less when they do. • Millennials shop cautiously online for important products, checking out the options to make sure they understand the essentials of the category: brands, price range, performance criteria. • Armed with the fruits of their tech savvy, they check out the goods offline, in the store, looking for immediate value in their life and the likelihood of lasting usefulness.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 41. 41 need to 4. know why@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 42. 42 “although they are better educated, more techno-savvy and quicker to adapt than those who have come before them, they refuse to blindly conform to traditional standards and time-honored institutions. instead, they boldly ask, ‘why?’” —Eric Chester, Employing Generation Why?@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 43. 43 4. need to know why • Pop culture has stereotyped young people as wild, rebellious troublemakers intent on confronting older generations. Think Blackboard Jungle, The Wild One, 1960s counterculture, 1970s punks, goths and cynical Gen Xers. • Millennials buck those stereotypes. They are more respectful than resentful toward older generations, and they tend to get along with their parents and seek their guidance and approval. • They don’t automatically reject the opinions and claims of other people, but they don’t automatically accept them either. They need solid arguments to convince them. •A lifetime of exposure to hyperactive media and marketing has made them skilled at deep-reading the messages to find out “Why should this matter to me?”@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 44. 44 4. need to know why retail iMplications • Brands and retailers who want millennials as customers must be prepared with several levels of convincing reasons that answer millennials’ needs and concerns. — It might be a great deal in terms of value for money and long-term usefulness ... — It might be really smart ... — It might have a great backstory ... — It might be doing great things in corporate social responsibility ... • Whatever it offers, millennials need to know why they should take notice of what you’re selling.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 45. 45 5. generation we@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 46. 46 “in order for brands to be relevant and loved by millennials, brands must be platforms for collaboration and bringing their young audiences together. companies have to begin seeing themselves as more than sellers, but enablers. (h/t Moosylvania)” —Viacom’s Scratch blog@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 47. 47 5. generation we • To outsiders, millennials might seem to take youthful self- absorption and self-centeredness to new levels, but compared with previous young generations they also bring a new sensibility to the mix. • With their intense use of social media and texting and constant interaction, millennials have a sense of connectedness, an instinctive sense of “we.” • Millennials value teamwork and inclusiveness; they’ve learned the value of reaching beyond their immediate social circle and connecting far and wide. • All their social media connections aren’t necessarily friends in the traditional sense, but they interact and contribute to each other’s sense of group.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 48. 48 5. generation we retail iMplications • Whether online or in the store, millennials like to shop with friends and family, sharing the experience. • More than any other generation, millennials tend to canvass the opinion of their peers before, during and after their purchasing. • More than with any other generation, brands and retailers should engage with millennials both as individuals and as part of a wider group. • Even if they’re on their own, you’re never selling to just one millennial.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 49. 49 6. eXpecting to haVe their say@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 50. 50 “they’re driving co-creation —they want involvement in new products, but not necessarily always from the ground up; they’re also happy to leave it to someone else to design as long as their input is considered. (h/t @cajunjen & @alleyesonjenny)” —Viacom’s Scratch blog@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 51. 51 “a generation raised on ‘children should be seen and heard’ simply will not be a passive consumer of anything.” —Nick Shore, senior vice president for strategic insights and research, MTV Networks@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 52. 52 6. eXpecting to haVe their say • At home, at school and in the market, millennials have been brought up to believe that their opinion is valuable, that it matters. • With social media, they’ve become used to sounding off in public to one another and to the brands that increasingly cultivate interaction with them. • With their votes and interaction, they’ve become accustomed to shaping the outcome of talent and reality TV shows and creating different endings for games. • They’re used to media and brands that offer them mechanisms to get involved with co-creating the product.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 53. 53 6. eXpecting to haVe their say retail iMplications • Brands dealing with millennial consumers need a lot more than occasional focus groups and customer surveys. • They need to develop channels that enable consumers to give feedback in real time and see that their feedback is heard and has an impact. • This has the double benefit of engaging those millennials who are motivated enough to contribute and signaling to the rest that this a brand that takes them seriously.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 54. 54 so what? • Millennialsprobably aren’t the sort of consumers that many brands and retailers would have wished for—they’ve got less money to spend, are less willing to spend, are more fickle, more demanding, more questioning … • Even so, millennials are already an important part of the market and will increasingly shape it as they move through adulthood. • The quicker brands and retailers figure out how to work with millennial consumers, the better placed they will be to survive and thrive in a millennial world.@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman
  • 55. 55 so what will you do to reach Millennials?@ erwwpr www.erwwpr.com @ mariansalzman