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.
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.