Written by: Leah Swartz
When it comes to fashion and shopping, there isn’t a more important demographic for retailers to reach than millennials. Their influence on the market has even gone so far as to alter the language that brands use when discussing target audiences. In fact, the term target audience has shifted in order to account for millennial attitudes.
The Millennial Mindset® is a new approach to connecting with a group of consumers whose actions span across generational boundaries. For example, a 50-year-old man may be just as motivated by his latest Fitbit as his 25-year-old son. This mindset is founded on six core principles: Social presence, Connectedness, Innovation, Trustworthiness, Purpose and Accessibility.
While it is extremely hard for brands to win across the board, identifying where your top opportunities exist could be what sets you apart from other brand leaders. This is especially true for brands in the fashion and retail market.
Fashion is social (media)
Fashion has always been social; there’s nothing new about a few friends meeting up for lunch and a day of shopping. The definition of what we describe as “social” has expanded, however. For 13 years, “friends” have been the number 1 purchase influencer according to Piper Jaffray’s “Taking Stock with Teens & Young Adults” survey. Internet has moved from No. 7 ten years ago to No. 2 currently. Friends + Internet = Social Media.
Millennial women don’t only ask their friends for opinions when it comes to choosing their outfits. They check fashion blogs, sift through photos on Pinterest and often take and share photos of clothing pieces in the store before purchasing.
The most successful brands have created influencer campaigns that inspire genuine engagement from within the audience rather than shouting a message across channels. This has fueled a new marketing goal of calling to participate rather than simply calling to action.
Fashion is personal and personalized
Although high quality is still important to millennials, they aren’t as concerned with touting name brands across their chests. In fact, research by Ypulse found that expressing individuality was more important to people ages 13 to 34 than flashing high-end names. The same study also reported that 55 percent of those surveyed said, “I don’t follow trends; I like to have my own personal style.”
Millennial dads especially want to maintain their own personal identity separate from being a father. Unlike their boomer predecessors, millennial dads are struggling to accept some of the new challenges fatherhood brings.
Although they agree that having a child brings them happiness and has been one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives, being a father has affected their sense of self. According to research conducted by DDB, 25 percent of millennials agreed with the statement “I’ve lost my identity because I am a dad.” We get that this may seem a little pessimistic, but it provides a great opportunity for new retail brands to foster relationships that help young fathers maintain their individual sense-of-self in addition to being a father.
Pieces are pricey but fashion doesn’t have to be
Millennials are Day Traders™, meaning they are happy to splurge on the must-have items while maintaining a tight budget elsewhere. This has fueled the major millennial trend of shopping at stores like TJ Maxx, Ross and Marshalls where top designer products are offered at a discount. Another way millennials balance value and price is by investing in a couple expensive items and then pairing them with cheaper options.
Polyvore is an online website that allows users to shop trending looks without breaking the brank. One avenue of the site is where professional stylists create fashion boards that feature key pieces ranging in price from $100 – $800 (or more) paired with a $15 t-shirt from Forever 21. This trade up/trade down mentality has drastically altered the retail industry – especially how luxury products are marketed.
It is without question that our retail market is changing indefinitely – and we didn’t even scratch the surface of what online shopping has done to the industry! Brands that get lost playing catch up will be quickly forgotten.
To stay on the forefront of these modern marketing trends, it is imperative to tap into your millennial audience for inspiration and research. Too often, brands assume they know what is best for their consumers. However, inviting millennials to participate in the creation of their own brand journey will be what sets your business apart.