Millennial Shopping Trends

Posted by Jocelyn Schoolsky on Mar 12, 2018 9:00:00 AM
Jocelyn Schoolsky

Born between 1979 and 1996, Millennials are the largest defined generation, accounting for nearly one quarter of the US population. That’s approximately 78 million Millennials… and there have been nearly as many articles published about this highly discussed demographic. So why do I feel another is needed?

I couldn’t help but notice that the vast majority of the articles have been written about Millennials, but not by Millennials. As a 30-year-old avid shopper and an unapologetic Millennial, I want to tell the story of how we shop firsthand.

A few stats to keep in mind:

  • A whopping 50% of Millennials go into physical stores.
  • Nearly 85% of Millennials use their phones in-store for assistance with a purchase.
  • Millennials spend $600 billion annually. They are forecasted to be responsible for 35% of all spending by 2030.

My shopping journey:

  1. Google, Amazon and Polyvore are my best friends. If and when I’m on the hunt for anything fashion related, these are my go-tos for search. After all, 55% of Millennials use search engines to learn about products.
  1. 70% of everything I purchase is influenced by social media - bloggers, YouTubers, RewardStyle, etc. I hate to state the obvious, but Millennials are addicted to social media. More importantly, we use it as our primary way to discover and learn about new products, brands, and specials. In fact, 60% of Millennials have said that they would try a product suggested by a YouTuber and one-third consider blogs to be a top media source while researching a purchase. 
  1. Screenshots – I screen shot everything I want to buy. Apple’s recently created Screenshots folder in the Photos app helps me stay organized. Additionally, retailers like ASOS and Revolve are capturing this type of activity to better understand their consumer (see photos below).

Revolve Screenshot Asos Screenshot Screenshots Folder

  1. We shop on our smartphones for nearly everything. If your mobile Web or app experience isn’t intuitive and convenient, you’ll lose us – fast! Therefore, retailers must have a mobile-first strategy if they want to stay relevant to our generation. In any case, an astounding 87% of Millennials have their phones by their side every second of the day.
  1. If retailers don’t offer free shipping or the ability to buy online and pick up in-store, I probably won’t place an order., claims that 88% of Millennials say they would consider buying online and picking up in-store to save $10 on a $50 item. For retailers who ship, offering a discount to pick up in-store not only creates perceived value but also saves shipping and handling costs while simultaneously driving foot traffic into their brick-and-mortar locations. 
  1. I still love going into stores, and apparently I’m not the only one. Sometimes I just want to try something on that day or touch and see fabrics in person. 50% of Millennials not only go to physical stores, but they prefer going to them as a primary means of shopping. Stores are not dead!
  1. I almost always do research before going to the mall. If I don’t go to the mall with a plan, I’ll be there all day (and I certainly don’t have time for that). According to a survey from International Council of Shopping Centers, 95% of Millennial Internet users said they were expected to research items online before buying in-store.
  1. When shopping for new makeup or skincare item, I want access to samples. If I can’t try it virtually or in person, I probably won’t buy it. Sephora has this down pat (Virtual Artist) – plus 3 free samples with every visit; score!
  1. Roughly ten percent of my yearly purchases are at full-retail. That being said, it’s no surprise that 80% of Millennial shoppers are influenced by price. Even though we value things like authenticity, local sourcing, ethical production and a great shopping experience, nothing beats a discount, no matter how old we are, right? 
  1. Unlike my parents, I always search for a coupon before buying anything. Often times, I’ll search for 15-20 minutes just to save 10%. Even if I’m not getting a deal, I’d like to think that I am. As noted in Forbes, a majority of Millennials search for a coupon before making a purchase. 
  1. I’m completely obsessed with Ebates. If your brand isn’t on Ebates, I’m probably buying from your competitor. Whether it’s 2.5% or 10%, cash back makes a huge difference (especially when someone shops as much as I do). ebates
  1. If I’m on the go, I always use PayPal. Unsurprisingly, 46% of Millennials use mobile payments and 22% say that they use mobile payments from their phone, regularly, to make purchases. In other words, mobile payments make life so dang easy.
  1. If I’m unsure about sizing online, I’ll almost always order multiple sizes. Here’s yet another reason why retailers still need a store presence.
  1. I love loyalty programs. Whether it’s earning free shipping, reward certificates, early access or samples – I’m in! According to V12 Data, 69% of Millennials belong to a retail loyalty program, and 70% of those are happy with their programs.
  1. If your brand’s app is on my phone, I’m 10x more likely to buy from you. Rent the Runway Reviews
  1. Nine times out of ten, I have greater confidence in making a purchase if the product or service has been reviewed by multiple consumers. Customer reviews are my lifeline – those with photos (see Rent the Runway) are even more compelling. Not convinced that customer reviews are worthwhile? Think again – almost 39% of Millennials post reviews of products or brands.

The fact is that we Millennials don’t go anywhere without our smartphones. As such, it's crucial for retailers and marketers to understand how to appeal to our demographic. We’re tech savvy shoppers – give us a memorable mobile shopping experience and you’ll earn our loyalty and, most importantly, our dollars.

Topics: Mobile Retail Apps, Omnichannel Retail, Mobile Payments

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GPShopper is a mobile commerce platform and app developer for retailers, using technology to transform the total retail experience.  GPShopper is a Synchrony solution. 
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