IT’S A MIL­LEN­NIAL THING

Mil­len­ni­als are the ma­jor de­mand driv­ers of the fash­ion in­dus­try to­day. Shrad­dha Phulgirkar analy­ses what this spells for brands world­wide.

Apparel - - Feature -

To­day, the global spend­ing bracket is dom­i­nated by the most pow­er­ful con­sumer group— Gen­er­a­tion Y aka the mil­len­ni­als. While this gen­er­a­tion is not chas­ing a big house or a shiny new car, it re­port­edly will con­trol US$24 tril­lion dol­lars of wealth by 2020. Ac­cord­ing to de­mog­ra­phers at the Pew Re­search Cen­ter, those born roughly be­tween 1981 and 1997 ac­count for 27 per cent of the global pop­u­la­tion, i.e., about two bil­lion peo­ple.

Mil­len­ni­als are in their young adult­hood and are fast be­com­ing the world’s most im­por­tant gen­er­a­tional co­hort for con­sumer spend­ing growth, sourc­ing of em­ploy­ees, and over­all eco­nomic prospects. Given the de­cline in the con­sump­tion power of Gen­er­a­tion X and Z due to re­tire­ment and the lack of a source of in­come re­spec­tively, mil­len­ni­als will be­come the most im­por­tant gen­er­a­tion for brands ev­ery­where. Mil­len­ni­als in China (415 mil­lion) and In­dia (440

mil­lion) alone con­sti­tute ap­prox­i­mately 47 per cent of the world’s mil­len­nial pop­u­la­tion. It’s safe to say that this gen­er­a­tion is call­ing the shots on the de­sign and mar­ket­ing plans of goods and ser­vices across the globe.

Study­ing, psy­cho­analysing and de­vel­op­ing a deep un­der­stand­ing of this gen­er­a­tion’s as­pi­ra­tions and mo­ti­va­tions has be­come in­dis­pens­able for brands to es­cape ter­mi­nal de­cline. The rules of the game have changed. Mak­ing mil­len­ni­als reach their wal­let is not easy un­less brands stay rel­e­vant. So, here are a few in­sights on what dom­i­nates a typ­i­cal mil­len­nial’s mind that can help brands lure them in.

PER­SON­AL­I­SA­TION IS THE KEY TO GET THEM

In the last decade, there has been n a par­a­digm shift from fam­i­lyre­lated pur­chases to in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic c in­dul­gent shop­ping in the In­dian mar­ket. This has led mar­keters to o re­alise that achiev­ing per­sonal ful­fil­ment is on the rise and it’s fairly high on the pri­or­ity list of mil­len­ni­als. Slowly but surely, mil­len­ni­als have com­pelled mar­keters to think of strate­gies that go be­yond the func­tional as­pect­pect of the prod­uct, and dive into con­cepts likeke iden­tity and con­nec­tion with the brand. Brandd com­mu­ni­ca­tion is no longer a one-way street; de­vel­op­ingvelop­ing a di­a­logue with con­sumers is pos­si­ble­ble and even val­ued, thus in­creas­ing the chancesces of the con­sumer’s in­ter­ac­tion with a brand.nd. USbased MTailor has em­braced smart­phon­eart­phonebased per­son­al­i­sa­tion for suits, shirts,hirts, and jeans; cus­tomers pro­vide mea­sure­ments, re­ments, place the or­der on their phone andd get the prod­ucts shipped via mail. Bom­bay­ombay Shirt Com­pany in In­dia has em­braced a sim­i­lar model. Fur­ther, sev­eral main­stream jeanss brands have also started of­fer­ing per­son­alised fits.

SLOWLY BUT SURELY, MIL­LEN­NI­ALS HAVE COM­PELLED MAR­KETERS TO THINK OF STRATE­GIES THAT GO BE­YOND THE FUNC­TIONAL AS­PECT OF THE PROD­UCT.

BRANDS WITH A PUR­POSE

Since the mil­len­ni­als took over the con­sump­tion wheel, there has been a sig­nif­i­cant rise in the num­ber of brands that show in­ter­est in ‘cause mar­ket­ing’ cam­paigns. A re­cent Nielsen sur­vey found that more than half (55 per cent) of global re­spon­dents are will­ing to pay ex­tra for goods and ser­vices from com­pa­nies that are com­mit­ted to a pos­i­tive so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact— up from 50 per cent in 2012 and 45 per cent in 2011. Most mil­len­ni­als have at least one cause that’s close to their heart, be it re­duc­ing their car­bon foot­print, al­le­vi­at­ing ex­treme poverty or safe­guard­ing an­i­mal wel­fare. For­ward-think­ing brands which truly wish to stay rel­e­vant to mil­len­ni­als need to start in­cor­po­rat­ing the so­cial good. For in­stance, ap­parel brands that re­spect their em­ploy­ees’ work-life bal­ance, work to­wards break­ing gen­der stereo­types, do not harm an­i­mals in the process of man­u­fac­tur­ing a gar­ment, and have eco-friendly al­ter­na­tives to save the planet will have an up­per hand over the ones that are sim­ply man­u­fac­tur­ing gar­ments. The as­so­ci­a­tion with the cause should be rel­e­vant to the cause and more im­por­tantly to mil­len­ni­als.

THEY MOSTLY SHOP ON­LINE

Mil­len­ni­als breathe tech­nol­ogy. They are al­ways con­nected to peo­ple and ev­ery­thing hap­pen­ing around them through the Web and so­cial me­dia. They sur­vive on so­cial me­dia rather than tra­di­tional me­dia such as tele­vi­sion and news­pa­pers. Around 89 per cent of mil­len­nial shop­pers use their smart­phones to con­nect to the In­ter­net on a daily ba­sis, and 55 per cent rely on so­cial me­dia as their pri­mary source for shop­ping, news and in­for­ma­tion. These days you’re more likely to find mil­len­ni­als brows­ing clothes on their smart­phone than on a rack in the mall. While they also love to pam­per them­selves with a brick-and-mor­tar ex­pe­ri­ence, their pri­mary shop­ping needs are taken care of on on­line plat­forms. If your fash­ion brand is not on their mo­bile or lap­top, there’s a high chance it prob­a­bly won’t make it to their closet.

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