Millennials Poised to Outspend Baby Boomers, Survey Says

In just four years, the millennial generation will outspend baby boomers, though retailers aren’t prepared for this, according to new research study unveiled today by Berglass+Associates and Women’s Wear Daily. 

The generation—also called the “echo boom,” and generally defined as Americans born from 1982 to 2004—will be the dominant group as far as purchasing power by 2017. 

The study also found that millennials have different attitudes than previous generations, and retailers need to take heed.

For instance, millennials have been found to rely most on the opinions of friends when making buying decisions. However, the survey of business leaders found that most believe that online advertising is the No. 1 influencer of this generation’s purchasing activity.

In addition, while millennials expect online and physical store channels to be integrated, a little over a third of respondents in the study said they offer a seamless customer experience.

The survey also found that 60 percent of respondents are not conducting any research or analysis of the millennial customer.

Among the survey’s listed attributes of millennial consumers:

  • They respond well to stories and humor.
  • They prefer images and visuals to words.
  • They seek out unique, personalized products.
  • They spend a lot of time on their phone, and are more likely to purchase products on it than past generations.
  • They seek in-store experiences that are “stimulating and memorable.”
  • They seek out “shareworthy” brands.
  • They respond well to “cause-related” marketing.

For more, see “What Millennial Jewelry Buyers Want,” in Sept. 2012 JCK.

JCK News Director