Retail for Millennials:
What to Expect

Millennials are taking retail by storm — and they’re just gearing up.

In the next five years Gen Y, the 18-34 year-old bracket, is expected to represent upwards of 30% of all retail sales. As the first truly tech generation starts families, buys homes, and takes the lead as the major consumer force, how will they shop?


Everything Apparel

Online or in-store, millennials love clothes. Women in the Gen Y age bracket spend a third more on apparel than their older or younger counterparts, while millennial men spend twice as much. So don’t worry — while some chains may go struggle to meet the demands of this generation, there’s still a market for the department store classics and it’s stronger than ever.

Keep Community in Mind

Gen Y is 74% more likely to buy a product if the proceeds go to charity. That’s significant in and of itself – but even more meaningful in context. Despite being nicknamed the “Great Recession Generation,” 63% of millennials donate to charity, and 81% expect companies to make a commitment to good corporate citizenship. Want your business to succeed? Tuning in to consumer ethics is a good bet to boost sales.

Go Back to the Source

If you want to catch and keep millennial attention, look to farmer’s markets, Kickstarter, and Etsy for inspiration. Key words: local, home-grown, hand-made, sustainable, and small business. Millennials not only want to donate to the community — they want to support it with their buying power. Retailers whose products feel personal will find it easier to succeed, while outsourcing may just lose its appeal.

Stores are Still Strong

Yep, that’s right. An incredible 82% of millennials prefer shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. When it comes to department, discount, and drug retailers, that percentage climbs even higher. So though pundits may be crying wolf, don’t worry too much — the millennial market is there for retailers who know how to adapt to it.

The bottom line: Gen Y is spending, and brick-and-mortar isn’t going anywhere.


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