Millennials enjoy shopping as a pastime and want an elevated in-store experience, though they also expect a high level of convenience, according to a new report from omnichannel analytics firm Euclid emailed to Retail Dive. A quarter of millennials (more than the 20% of Baby Boomers and 19% of Gen Xers) like to shop with family and friends, according to the report.
But millennials also expect retailers to make shopping fast and convenient: Nearly half (47%) say they buy online and pickup in-store more than 40% of the time, compared to 30% of Gen Xers and just 14% of their Baby Boomer parents, Euclid also found. They are supremely channel-agnostic, seamlessly switching between buying online (52%) and in physical stores (59%) weekly, with nearly a third holding retail subscription services.
It’s difficult to motivate millennials through advertising. Just under a third are inspired by product ads, compared to 53% of Boomers and 40% of Generation Xers. Half of survey respondents of all generations unsubscribe when they get too many emails from brands, but just 44% of millennials bother (far less than the 55% percent of Boomers and 51% of Gen Xers), the survey found. That means many millennials getting marketing emails neither pay attention to them, nor think more highly of the brand sending them, Euclid warned.
As soon as next year, millennials — who in aggregate boast $200 billion in spending power — are projected to overtake Baby Boomers as the largest living generation in the United States in terms of spending, according to Euclid. That makes it "sink-or-swim time for physical retailers," according to Euclid CEO Brent Franson, who points to Amazon as a model.
"Over-marketing is a huge turn-off to most consumers. New buying models are winning over millennials and others who value modern shopping channels," he said in a statement. "And shoppers want from physical stores what they get from Amazon — a frictionless buying experience. The question is, will brick and mortar retailers deliver? They’re certainly positioned to do that, if they shape the store experience to align with consumers' high expectations for convenience."
It behooves retailers to pay attention to what delights millennials, according to the report.
When it comes to convenience, for example, millennials are unimpressed by what they see as the 'bare minimum,' Euclid notes. Compared to members of other generations, just 34% of millennials prioritize a reasonable checkout time, compared to 59% of Baby Boomers and 42% of Gen Xers. And while 52% of Boomers say that a reasonable return and exchange policy is a top priority, just a third of millennials do. Boomers are also 1.5 times more likely to prioritize the availability of items they’re looking for than millennials.
All the baseline expectations and indifference to marketing hardly means that millennials are unreachable, however. Euclid notes that immersive experiences which blend technology, personalization and price are potent. A bit more than half (51%) find in-store visits more exciting when a retailer uses tech to show how a product is relevant to their needs, compared to 38% of Generation X and 23% of Boomers. And millennials remain thrifty — a third say price influences them.
But it’s not just tech — human beings are also quite important to millennials shoppers. They’re more more than twice as likely than Boomers and Gen X to say that interacting with knowledgeable sales staff influences their purchasing decisions. Millennials also find pop-up stores compelling, and 30% say they’re drawn to them mostly by competitive pricing and another 28% note convenience and location.