Every time I sit down at new economic forecast, read up on industry news, or check my twitter feed there is someone talking about Millennials. And rightfully so. Millenials are poised to take over the Baby Boomers as the largest spenders on retail goods, an estimated thirty percent of all sales by 2020. This segment of the population has mostly been ignored until recently. Their spending patterns are now constantly being over analyzed to discover where investors should place their money, what concepts should expand, and where to build/redevelop new shopping centers.
As a millennial myself (yes, I was born after 1980), I’m constantly irritated by many of the misconceptions that tend to find their way into these articles and reports. Here is my list of the Top 4 Biggest Misconceptions About Millenials.
- Millennials are Lazy
Seems like every generation that comes along and gets accused of being lazy. All the Generation X’ers out there were called Lazy at one point. Millennials have been stigmatized as being lazy, because the overall economic engine hasn’t been chugging along. Competition for entry level jobs (from people who weren’t entry level) has been unprecedentedly high, with senior level employee’s with greater qualifications and experience willing to take these positions during the economic downturn. Millennials have been resourceful, however. Many of the new innovations that we take for granted were started by disgruntled millennials that had more time due to lack of entry level employment being available to them.
- Millennial’s aren’t interested in home ownership.
This one has to be my biggest pet peeve. It seems not a day goes by where an article talks about Millennial disinterest in purchasing a home. The fact is, if you don’t have a job, it’s hard to own a house. On top of that, lending standards have become incredibly strict, and even though they are less stringent for first time home owners, there is a large barrier to entry that didn’t exist in years past. Millennials have flocked to the multi-family housing lifestyle, as they haven’t been able to qualify for homeownership. It’s true that Millennial’s prefer an urban lifestyle that is walkable (or even bikeable in our city), but that doesn’t mean that the allure of ownership is gone. Convenient pockets of housing, with cool restaurants and retail nodes, will succeed as cash strapped millennials free up resources as the greater economic condition improves and debt becomes more readily available.
- Lack of Brand Loyalty from Millennials.
One of the biggest concerns expressed by retailers is the lack of loyalty of the Millennial shopper. This couldn’t be farther from the truth according to a recent study by Accenture. The Millennial shopper is extremely loyal, but there is a caveat, they need to feel they’ve been treated right. Millennial’s demand to feel welcome and feel that they are a valued customer. The population demands a high level of service to earn their business. Quality combined with a fair price are staples for these consumers. With the advent of the internet, Millennials fact check the brands they are willing to shell out their cash to.
- Millennials only shop on their iPhones or MacBooks
Don’t get me wrong, Millennials are notorious for their online shopping, but this group still likes to get out and shop in stores. Millennials grew up in the information age, and thus have a tendency to know the value of anything they decide to purchase. If the price is right in a store, we will buy it in the store, but if there is a 20% price decrease online, the sale is happening there. Omnichannel retailers are the wave of the future. Companies that are able to provide fair pricing, coupled with a quality product, and the ability to see and touch the product in a store will succeed in the future. Millennial’s, however, are a crafty bunch, often browsing brick and morter locations to return home and fact check the products they enjoyed. The brick and morter location might have directly led to the purchase of the product, but the purchase may occur online.
Kalen Rickard | Vice President
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