26 Apr 2019

Millennial Buying Behaviour in Retail

Millennials are the largest living generation, so it’s important for retailers to familiarise themselves with their buying behaviour. They are very different to the consumers that have come before them, so they can be hard to understand.

Millennials are people born between 1982 and 2000, accounting for nearly a third of the world’s population.  They’re coming into their prime spending years, so if you haven’t already, now is the time to get your head around the millennial consumer buying behaviour in retail.

Environmentally Conscious

Millennial consumers are very aware of the damage the retail industry can do to the environment. They’re shopping with an ethically conscious mind, and take brand practices into account when making purchase decisions. They’re willing to spend more on retail products that are environmentally friendly and will boycott those that are not.

Transparency is key to tapping into this generation. They want to know where your products are sourced and how they are made. Unlike the generations that have come before them, they’re not turning a blind eye to production and labour practices.


buying behaviour

You are probably sick and tired of hearing about how retailers need to get with the times and become tech savvy, but I’m afraid it’s a necessary evil. This does not mean you’ve to move your bricks and mortar store online, but it does mean you need to establish an online brand presence. Millennials are taking to the internet to rant and rave about their favourite (and worst) brands, so it’s not a case of whether you’re online or not, it’s a case of whether you are controlling it with a personal presence.

Studies into millennial consumer buying behaviour show that they enjoy shopping online and in-store equally. While they use mobile a lot, their online shopping preference is desktop. However, their optimal number of screens is two, so even though they make the purchase on their desktop, they may have found the item first on mobile or on an ad on TV.

Impatient Buyers

Millennials are constantly seeking instant gratification. They are an impatient generation that don’t want to wait around too long for their products to be delivered. If it’s convenient, they prefer shopping in-store, so they can get their products immediately.

They are more likely than older generations to put products back if the queue in the store is too long, so it’s important for retailers to minimise this where possible. Retailers should also put relevant products close to each other, so the customers don’t have to travel far to find complimentary items.

consumer buying behaviour

Customer Experience

Millennials are very loyal shoppers that value the experience they receive while shopping in-store. They are very likely to share positive experiences with their friends and family. However, it’s not only positive reviews they are concentrating on, with 74% of Millennial consumers saying they would switch brands if they had a negative experience with the retailer.

They value loyalty schemes and discounts, and like to feel part of a bigger community. They need to be kept in the loop with their favourite brands and enjoy co-creating with them on social media.

Looking for more retail insights? Visit Autumn Fair and take part in the free seminars and workshops.

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