Millennials are pretty much taking over every aspect of today’s society. They certainly make up the largest segment of the global workforce and are the biggest generation in terms of population in history.
A millennial is anyone born between the years 1981-1996—often with a cellphone already in their hands. Millennials are frequently labeled in a less than savory light, often called entitled, irresponsible, pampered and indulged, and unable to handle the real world.
Talk about an unfair portrayal. This view comes from the fact that the typical millennial did have a delay in facing realities of adulthood compared to previous generations. But this does not mean that they are less capable.
Millennials today are molded by the realities of their lifetime; they are living at the vanguard of what is now a more connected world. And while they do things a little differently than their parents and grandparents, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable or less prosperous—in fact, millennial buying behavior is projected to reach $1.4 trillion in sales in the U.S. by 2020. That’s 30% of all retail sales.
Today, millennials have much of the buying power and influence in the marketplace in the palm of their hands, and they also tend to approach shopping differently from older generations. As fresh-faced younger millennials are now taking over the workforce, and older millennials reach new heights in their careers, this technologically savvy generation is making more money, more purchases, and they have a penchant for making transactions online.
This is precisely the reason why more brands and more businesses are improving their strategies to appeal to millennial sensibilities, and why the ecommerce entrepreneur needs to understand what drives millennials when they shop online.
Millennial Shopping Behavior
So, how do millennials shop?
Well, if you want to know why ecommerce just keeps on growing year in and year out, then you might want to shift your gaze towards millennials. This is because millennials are generally internet dependent. Every millennial either grew up at the beginning of the digital age or was born into it. Millennials use the internet and technology to deal in all aspects of life, which includes managing social relationships, business, and their purchases.
According to statistics, 64% of millennials reportedly prefer shopping online, and 81% of them make at least one purchase online every month. When it comes to gender, more millennial men tend to shop online than women, but this could be due to the differences in what the two sexes tend to shop for online. According to a Business Insider Intelligence report, 40% of men ages 18-to-34 "would ideally buy everything online." While women, still appear to care a little bit more for traditional brick-and-mortar shopping.
To gain a better understanding of millennial online shopping and what they want, we are going to look at some general attributes that are shared by the generation that is now at the forefront for shaping the future of online shopping.
They Are Looking For A Bargain
If there is one thing that makes millennials like the generations past, it’s that price matters, and this is precisely one of the major reasons why millennials often look to online stores.
Millennials are known to be frugal shoppers, where many of them use both offline and online shopping to conduct price comparisons. It is not uncommon for millennials to checkout something in-store, only to go online afterward to see if they can get a cheaper price for the same item online.
Unlike the older generations, millennials are more receptive to the great convenience and the opportunities one can get in terms of value and savings from online shopping. They want more value for their money, and nothing beats a discount or a price slash no matter what generation you’re from.
In this sense, it’s not far-fetched to call millennials smart shoppers. They’re always on the lookout for better deals and are willing to wait for sales so that they can stretch their money for what it’s worth.
They Are Capable Researchers
Millennials are tech-savvy and capable online researchers. They have used the power of the internet to turn themselves into well-informed shoppers. When it comes to shopping, online channels are very important to the millennial, because it provides insight and information that they cannot otherwise garner from the in-shop experience of touching and feeling a product alone.
When millennials want more information about a product or a shop, they turn to the internet to read reviews, view product ratings, and to read the type of feedback a shop has garnered from previous customers.
They seek this information because they want to ascertain that they are making a good purchase by seeing what other shoppers are saying.
That being said, online reviews play a big role in influencing what millennials buy. 80% of them reportedly look to online reviews of products and brands and often turn to influencers for product reviews and referrals. This is something you should take note of if you run an online store because millennials are paying attention to what previous buyers and social media influencers are saying about your store’s reputation and its products.
They Like To Share
Information is a two way street for millennials. Not only do they like to be informed, but they themselves also like to share information and are not in any way shy about their opinions, good and bad.
An online survey conducted by Forbes on 1,628 millennials and 906 Gen Xers found that millennials are 13% more likely than Generation X to share information about their purchases on social media. Millennials, who are much more immersed in the online world than older generations, find social media to be a great platform to share their lives, opinions, and interests to their peers. They are likely to tell their friends, family, and other followers what products they endorse, and are just as likely to share their bad experiences with a company or a product as well.
Contrary to the popular adage that “All publicity is good publicity”, this is not really true for brands online. The goal for online brands in dealing with millennials is to create and maintain a positive buzz around their business and products. Positive comments online are what’s going to get the ball rolling for any online brand.
This is why brands need to take note of the relevance of social media plays in the lives of millennials because they love to share their experiences on various social platforms. Brands today must play active roles in social media in order to listen and engage with their customers and potential customers.
They Enjoy Novelty
Because millennials are so well researched and kept current by trends on social media, this contributes to a willingness to try out new and innovative things. This is great news for startups because millennials are well versed with the trends and enjoy novelty.
According to a report on millennial consumerism, millennials are the most experimental demographic, stating that four out of five millennials around the world enjoy experimenting with novel and even foreign products.
This openness to trying new things comes from the fact that millennials are exposed to new ideas, cultures, and products from their internet use. While Gen Xers and older generations are more likely to stick to brands that they are already familiar with, millennials are more curious about the things and ideas that they see online. It’s important to note that millennials also have the proclivity to distrust large corporations and don’t mind supporting smaller businesses.
This willingness to experiment and try new products is a great opportunity for new brands to capitalize on, but it also poses an issue when it comes to brand loyalty. Millennials are notorious for a perceived lack of loyalty, and brands today have to constantly vie for their attention.
Personalization Is Important To Them
When it comes to brand loyalty, millennials aren’t after the familiar. Instead, they stick to the brands that they feel treat them right by providing a customer-centric shopping experience that is tailored to them. In other words, personalization is key to the millennial online consumer.
Brands today need to leverage the technology and customers’ willingness to share more data and information about themselves online to create a personalized and tailored shopping experience.
Millennials want to feel that they are understood and marketed to as an individual. The survey conducted by Forbes found that nearly half of millennials who participated appreciated ads of brands that were relevant to them. This makes personalization an important element to a brand’s strategy regarding its customers. Brands today must reach a deeper understanding of how to connect with their millennial audience to create a personalized experience to encourage loyalty.
When developing a personalization strategy, a brand will have to delve into data about their target audience and create a marketing message that is relevant to their consumers. It also pays to note that many millennials also tend to appreciate promotions, discounts, and rewards in return for their loyalty.
Millennials are a tech-savvy generation who are comparatively more informed about their purchases than previous generations. They are extremely diverse, more flexible, and are constantly being exposed to new ideas because they have access to a more globally connected world through the internet. The millennial generation is a frugal shopper that values online retail and the ability to get what they want at the touch of a finger on their device.
Millennials and millennial sensibilities are taking over. Contrary to how popular media portrays them, millennials are going to be an unstoppable force, and if a brand wants to remain sustainable, they will have to adapt to their needs and wants.
What are your thoughts on the impact that the millennial generation will have on your online business? Are you planning to adjust your strategies to better suit their preferences? If you have a project in mind, contact Ecommerce Pro today. Together we’ll share ideas and discuss profitable solutions and strategies to help you reach your ecommerce and dropshipping business goals. Please feel free to start a conversation with us today.