Post Categories: July 2016

Expert Viewpoints: The Millennial Revolution


Vasco Brinca, President – International

By Vasco Brinca, President – International, Daymon Worldwide

The world of retail is on the cusp of major change. Our view of the “typical” consumer is being turned on its side as the first wave of Millennials (loosely defined as the generation shaped by the political, social and digital changes of the late 20th century) begin to reach peak buying power. Millennials are a significant demographic cohort in almost every market around the world. In the U.S., they already account for an estimated $1.3 trillion in annual spending—and their impact is only set to grow.

In a landmark global study, Daymon Worldwide has identified Four Pillars of Change that drive Millennials’ attitudes and behaviors, and that will have a significant influence on the retail environment in the coming years:

  1. Peer-to-peer community—Millennials are wary of institutions, politics and big business. Technology has become their safety net, and their peers are the reference for what they believe in, what they feel and what they do.
  2. A world which is always on—Millennials are the first generation to grow up in a hyper-connected digital society. They incorporate technology and social media into every aspect of their daily life.
  3. Post-overconsumption behavior—Millennials are redefining the value equation for products and services. They take into account time, money, social relevance and many other factors.
  4. Entrepreneurship and flexibility—Millennials seek versatility, flexibility, trust, transparency and independence to allow for self-expression and creativity at work.

With these pillars in mind, there are numerous ways in which retailers can—and must—adapt to the Millennial consumer. Keeping Millennials’ affinity for technology and experiences in mind, retailers have already started adopting new in-store technologies in order to provide a relevant and engaging personal shopping experience. For example, some retailers are using interactive displays to respond to and engage with shoppers based on their movements. Others are opening pop-ups where visitors can use virtual reality headsets to create their ideal living space from items in the retailer’s homeware collection.

The next step is developing a robust omnichannel strategy that makes consumers lives easier. The most complex omnichannel strategies can engage with the consumer through many different anchors (such as online education, social responsibility through social media, innovation through crowdsourcing) and offer multiple digital solutions. This meets the needs of Millennials on multiple levels—through peer-to-peer engagement, always-on connectivity and more.

To be clear, Millennials are driving not just a reinvention of the retail industry, but a full revolution. The generations that follow will also be influenced and driven by many of the same beliefs and attitudes that make Millennials different from previous generations. Ultimately, Millennials are pioneers of the new world—and retail—paradigm.

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