One of the favorite pastimes of marketers is to hang a quick, pithy handle on a group based on a broad generalization of their likes, habits or some other easily identifiable trait. For instance, baby boomers are seen as technology-phobic while Generation Z, mostly high schoolers and college students, live on Instagram.
And then there are the millennials from age 21-35. This is the demographic that’s fast becoming America’s most powerful consumer group, which makes them a key target for virtually every business – but exactly who are millennials?
It’s not easy to summarize millennials in a word or two because their habits are difficult to generalize. While most came of age in the digital world of smartphones and online music, they aren’t completely devoted to an all-online lifestyle. That makes them an intriguing puzzle for the people who have to figure out what to sell them and how best to do it.
According to Deloitte, millennials will make up an estimated 50% of the global workforce by 2020 and are expected to control between $19 trillion and $24 trillion on a global scale. That represents an incredible business opportunity for merchants because millennials are right in the sweet spot.
TimeTrade regularly surveys consumers to identify their preferences and frustrations when it comes to the service they receive. When collecting data specific to millennial consumers, we find the need for an omnichannel strategy in order to effectively target this audience.
As the retail market continues to experience digital-physical convergence, millennials — despite growing up in an increasingly technology-driven era — want personalized service for key transactions and buying situations.
This presents an opportunity for retailers to invest in strategies to convert millennial browsers into shoppers. Interactive digital signage triggered by gestures, using a phone to trigger NFC tags for additional product information, scheduling appointments online, holding online video appointments – these are all initiatives offering a straight path to a millennial’s wallet.
We also asked about millennials’ buying preferences in other areas. Business should consider the following key findings when analyzing millennials:
- 87% of them will schedule an appointment (on the web or on their mobile device) for automotive service
- When having work done on their car, 82% of millennials would like to receive status updates via text
- 72% of millennials will schedule an appointment (on the web or on their mobile device) to meet with a home furnishing associate
- 70% of them are more likely to buy if a cosmetics associate knows their preferences (such as color palette, etc.) before they came into the store.
- 75% of millennial respondents are open to scheduling a video meeting with their financial advisor to avoid the hassle of traveling to an in-person meeting during business hours
Just as there’s no such thing as one-size-fits all clothing, so too there is no single trait or tendency that applies to all members of any given demographic group. But when it comes to millennials, TimeTrade’s research surveys prove at least one thing – they highly value personalized service when making almost every type of purchase.
Merchants that will have the greatest success serving the millennial demographic will be those willing to go the extra mile and provide “We’ve been expecting you” service to every customer, every time.
Kevin Flanagan is Director of Content at TimeTrade