Millennials and Holiday Retail Tactics

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A top-line report on how Millennials perceive holiday retailing practices. It's an opportunity for progressive retailers to connect in a more relevant manner to a new generation of shopper. Consumer attitudes about holiday retail are segmenting by age: Millennials feel manipulated; older segments feel like it's how the game is played.

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Millennials and Holiday Retail Tactics

  1. 1. Millennials and Holiday Retail Tactics A top line report Q4 2013
  2. 2. Purpose In the midst of the holiday season, MindSwarms set out to discover the impact that holiday retail tactics have on Millennials vs older segments
  3. 3. Research Objective Uncover consumers’ honest perspectives about holiday retail approaches and how these practices may impact retail brand relationships across different age segments
  4. 4. Target Audience • Nationwide US sample • Ages 18-55 • Two main segments: • Millennials <30 years old • 30+ year olds • Mix of expected holiday spending • Mix of ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds
  5. 5. What We Learned
  6. 6. Consumer attitudes about holiday retail tactics tend to segment by age Over 30 Under 30 • Feel manipulated by retailers • “The deal is not what it appears” • Retailers actively trying to “deceive” consumers to buy more/things they don’t need • Recognize retail manipulation, but feel they have mastered the ability to benefit • “A deal is a deal” • Retailers simply trying to “increase sales and market share”
  7. 7. Millennials express concern over 3 practices they perceive as common within the industry 1. Bait-and-switch product offerings 2. Deceitful pricing tactics 3. Guilt-inducing advertising
  8. 8. Millennials express concern over 3 practices they perceive as common within the industry “ As retail ramps up for the holidays, it’s certainly understandable how some people would refer to the approaches of retailers as shopper benefit, but I think it’s shopper manipulation. Retailers do drop their prices a little bit…but they make sure parents aren’t disappointing their kids by guilt-tripping them to buy more.” -Joshua, 27
  9. 9. Bait-and-switch offering is the most commonly mentioned tactic to lure consumers into their stores “The stores lure you in with a good deal and while you are in with a good deal, they hope you’ll be attracted to their other products which might not always be the best deal. It is a bait-and-switch by the company.” -Anders, 18
  10. 10. Bait-and-switch offering is the most commonly mentioned tactic to lure consumers into their stores “They advertise something really good… but what they won’t tell you is that there’s a limited number of TVs and you end up not getting one….but at that point, you are already manipulated into the store and might be pressured into buying something else you weren’t actually looking for.” -Will, 19
  11. 11. Many younger consumers perceive that holiday pricing isn’t always the value that it appears “Basically the way that retailers manipulate shoppers is deceitful… they will list a sale price as $125 and originally it was $125 all along! They use deceptive methods to get people to buy things that they don’t need.” -Ayasia, 20
  12. 12. Many younger consumers perceive that holiday pricing isn’t always the value that it appears “The holiday sales are them really just clearing out their stock…electronics being made with poor quality parts that amps up their margins even more. So it’s really not the value that people think that it is. They add little bonuses and stuff just to draw you in and then you spend more money than you really need to or ever intended to for stock that’s really going to go out of fashion in a couple of weeks.” -Melissa, 23
  13. 13. Millennials accuse retailers of using their advertising powers to manipulate “The deals they’re releasing and commercials that all come out during Christmas time are just manipulation...like how Chevrolet commercials have Santa Clause to get you to associate Santa and Christmas with purchasing a Chevrolet car.” -Alex, 19
  14. 14. Millennials accuse retailers of using their advertising powers to manipulate “Stores like Walmart and Target put a bunch of signs out that have 50% off and use discounts to get people’s attention into buying things…even when you’re not planning on buying…” -Paradee, 18
  15. 15. In contrast, the over-30 segment tends to take pride in abilities to understand and use retailer tactics • Recognize retailers need to leverage the holiday sales season • Take a “need to buy it anyway” attitude toward purchasing • Use their own tactics to ensure benefit
  16. 16. Consumers over 30 pride themselves in their ability to understand and use retailer tactics to their advantage “I know that this year, being a poor sales year and a bad economy, that a lot of retailers are targeting market share rather than profits, which means that they are putting on large sales…” -Ray, 48
  17. 17. Consumers over 30 pride themselves in their ability to understand and use retailer tactics to their advantage “You may feel like you need to spend more with all of the deals and bonuses around, but in the long run, you need to buy gifts anyway. It’s your own destiny. You don’t have to be manipulated, it’s your own personal choice.” -Donna, 32
  18. 18. Consumers over 30 pride themselves in their ability to understand and use retailer tactics to their advantage “As a shopper, you have to know exactly what you want to buy and what your price range is so that when retailers let us know what their sales are, it is a positive.” -Imani, 40
  19. 19. Consumers over 30 pride themselves in their ability to understand and use retailer tactics to their advantage “I don’t just assume since they’re telling me that it’s a sale that it’s going to be a sale. I think that there’s that fine line that will push the consumer away. I work through [the deal evaluations] to create the benefit for myself.” -Mardis, 44
  20. 20. Consumers agree on dislike of the ever-extending holiday shopping season, leaving all ages feeling “it is out of their control” • Millennials see it as yet another manipulation tactic to guilt them into buying more • Older consumers see it at as infringement on family time and true holiday meaning
  21. 21. Consumers of all age groups have negative feelings about the increasingly early start of the holiday season “This year they’re putting out Christmas themes before Halloween. That’s absurd. I really feel the effects of this emphasis as a college student working part time over the summer as it makes me feel like I have to save up all year just so I can afford these gifts that are expected.” -Alex, 19
  22. 22. Consumers of all age groups have negative feelings about the increasingly early start of the holiday season “The commercialization of the holiday season has definitely increased in recent years. People are sick of it and burned out by it at the beginning of the holidays. Takes away from some of the spirit of the season by having it extend so long.” -Andrew, 43 i
  23. 23. Consumers of all age groups have negative feelings about the increasingly early start of the holiday season “I’m not keen on Black Friday as it takes away the whole meaning of Thanksgiving. Instead of families spending time together, they go shopping!” -Susan, 47
  24. 24. Whether they see sales tactics as manipulation or benefit, consumers admit they enjoy the holiday shopping season
  25. 25. Overall, consumers express a positive attitude about the holiday shopping season “Some people may maintain that [these tactics] are shopper manipulation, and maybe it is, I’m getting the benefits and I really love shopping during the holidays!” -Divya, 28
  26. 26. Overall, consumers express a positive attitude about the holiday shopping season “I see it as a little bit of a combination of both. They are manipulating us by all of the advertisements and hype but when I shop at Christmas, I’m excited by all of the choices I have for buying gifts or even buying things for myself.” -John, 53
  27. 27. Conclusions & Implications Millennials, often described as on a longer timetable to adulthood, are more likely to describe holiday retail tactics as manipulative and some express fear that these “deceitful” practices will lure them into losing control/purchasing more than they should Those in the Millennial segment can provide specific examples of the approaches they deem most manipulative, including bait-and-switch inventory management and dishonest pricing While some in the older segment also see retail practices as manipulative, they feel more confident in their abilities to control their spending and ensure benefit from holiday deals
  28. 28. Conclusions & Implications Retailers must be cognizant of the potential brand distrust generated from holiday tactics and the negative impact it may have on long-term brand relationships It could be that Millennials' attitudes towards shopping have been shaped by more transparent digital pricing experiences, and therefore resent traditionally-minded retail tactics of brick-and-mortar There appears to be an opportunity for progressive retailers to connect in a more relevant manner to a new generation of shopper that seems more suspicious of tried-and-true holiday retail tactics
  29. 29. About MindSwarms MindSwarms gathers video feedback from consumers via smartphone/tablet/webcam all over the world. Fast. Consumers are screened first, then qualified respondents are invited to record their responses (asynchronously). Consumers are paid for participating. Responses to the study questions are viewable and shareable online, and can be downloaded in Quicktime format for inclusion in presentations or to create curated videos. Learn more at MindSwarms.com or blog.mindswarms.com. Contact sales@mindswarms.com for inquiries.
  30. 30. About MindSwarms Click here to watch the “Millennials and Holiday Retail Tactics” video.
  31. 31. Thank You
  32. 32. Photo Attribution Page 2 CC-licensed Flickr Photo Office Holiday Trees by Mr. T in DC Page 3 CC-licensed Flickr Photo Sale by Martin Abbeglen Page 4 CC-licensed Flickr Photo Sales Motion by Angelo Amboldi Page 5 CC-licensed Flickr Photo Stefan Typing by Tim Lawrenz Page 6 CC-licensed Flickr Photo Holiday Shops at Bryant Park by Imagine Communications’ Page 7 CC-licensed Flickr Photo Nordstrom Shopping Center, San Francisco by Franco Folini Page 15 CC-licensed Flickr Photo Holiday Bokeh by Dr. Wendy Longo Page 20 CC-licensed Flickr Photo December 26, 2006: Returns Day by Matt McGee Page 24 CC-licensed Flickr Photo Happy New Year! by Nic McPhee

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