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Shopper Trends|July 26, 2022

Help Millennials With Inflation and Bond Long-Term

Millennials are the single largest shopping group to find themselves struggling due to high prices – nearly half tell us they find it hard to both pay the essential bills and buy more than the basics. Our research reveals unique characteristics of this age group that present four opportunities for improved loyalty and sales.

Millennial Are the Worst Hit by Inflation

More shoppers between the ages of 26 and 41 are having trouble making ends meet than any other age group, according to our How America Shops® report, “Struggling Shoppers!”

As a result, they are re-prioritizing purchases and switching stores. Four in 10 Millennial shoppers told us they have had to make changes in what they buy so they can pay their basic bills. By comparison, about 24% of Boomers and Gen Xers, and just 11% of Gen Z, are under such pressure.

This Millennial struggle presents a not-to-be-ignored opportunity for retailers and brands. Shoppers have long memories. By acting to help Millennials manage through this inflationary period, retailers and brands can form emotional connections that will last.

4 WSL Findings Show Why Millennials Matter More Today

We dug deep into How America Shops® surveys to identify four themes to help retailers and brands connect with Millennials:

  1. Openly value their values. Millennials are the largest segment to express commitments to their values, including gender and racial equality and climate change (free-from, clean, natural), which rank higher among this age group than others. Brands and retailers that promote these values at affordable prices will find their ways into the hearts and baskets of Millennials.
  2. Make online easier and affordable. Millennials thrive on convenience and saving time, so one path to winning them could be making the digital tools they rely on lead to faster shopping and highlight how digital coupons make products more affordable. One-third make their regular stock-up trips online all or most of the time, with 77% choosing curbside pickup and 83% in-store pickup. One quarter or more purchase seven categories exclusively online, including clothing, cosmetics and vitamins.
  3. Stock “oops” items where shoppers can see them. 46% of Millennials told us they end up going into the stores to buy things they had forgotten to put in their store pickup order. This means they actually get out of their parked cars despite having used a channel designed to prevent that. That’s far-and-away more than Gen Xers and Boomers. What are “oops” items are they coming into the store to buy? Shopper data can help retailers predict the most-forgotten items, and place them in the “new front-end” – the pick up space at the front of the store.
  4. Learn their indulgence categories. Millennials, even struggling ones, will spring for little spurges. For instance, one-third would treat themselves to something in beauty and fashion compared with just 26% of Gen X and 16% of Boomers. Here’s the trick for retailers and brands: find ways to source items they can splurge on without them feeling they are splurging!

Seize the Moment to Bond with Millennial Shoppers

Rarely does such an obvious opportunity come along to bond with shoppers. The long-term win exists in finding creative ways to show your empathy at a time when price is always on their minds. Think like the Millennial shopper, and they will think of you.

Subscribers to WSL Strategic Retail can access our How America Shops report, “Struggling Shoppers!” here. If you’re not a subscriber and would like to learn more, you can contact us, and sign up for our regular Trend Alerts, here.


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