Retail and fashion industries and millennials


The fashion and retail industries are largely aiming their marketing and products towards the millennial market. More and more every day, they look towards this group of people to buy their products and use their services.

Why is this? Quite simply because they are interested in their appearance, keeping up with trends and they are now spending more money than the baby boomer generation.

According to Business Wire, this outspending from one generation to the next originally caught the retail and fashion industries off guard.

Back in 2013, Les Berglass, chief executive officer of Berglass & Associates, said: “Millennials have different motivations, attitudes and behaviours than previous generations, and retailers need to adjust their business strategies accordingly in order to thrive.”

And this is exactly what they did, they took stock of the fact that millennials are firm fans of fashion and shopping and now, retailers treat them as their most important demographic.

Millennials have a huge influence on the market and according to Millennial Marketing, this group of people has even managed to change the language that brands use to discuss their target audiences.

Now, fashion and retail houses chase after the Millennial Mindset that encompasses everyone from someone who is 25 to someone who is 50.

This mindset is largely focused on six main things, social presence, connectedness, innovation, trustworthiness, purpose and accessibility.

To get inside the thoughts and urges that drive millennials, and particularly those who are very successful within their industry we’ve outlined some things that you might want to take a note of for your reference.

Fashion and social media are interchangeable

Often, when people think about millennials, they’re drawn to an image of someone with their phone out, taking pictures and uploading them to several social media platforms with enough hashtags to look like they’re writing in hieroglyphics.

However, fashion is a sociable thing in the sense of an activity to go and enjoy with friends and in terms of the networks that keep all of us updated about each other’s lives.

According to Piper Jaffray’s Taking Stock with Teens & Young Adults survey, people’s friends have been their biggest influence on the things they buy and aspire to wear.

When you combine friends with the internet, you come up with social media, and there are several websites that are specifically dedicated to sharing fashion with your friends.

This creates what’s know as fear of missing out, or FOMO, which happens when people see what their friends are doing, feel envious and want to emulate it.

As such, you’ll see people posting pictures of themselves online before they go on a night out, or to a fancy party, which builds up FOMO, in the mind of the millennial, and leads them to go shopping for similar outfits. Or at least find somewhere that they can go out and post pictures of themselves having a good time and looking great.

In particular, you’ll find that millennial women will be keen to read fashion blogs and spend hours looking through photos on Pinterest choosing outfits and putting things together before they decide on an outfit they want to buy.

The most successful brands in the fashion industry have created influencer campaigns that inspire engagement from their followers. This is opposed to the old, traditional forms of marketing that involve shouting a message across their channels.

Engagement across social media is something that all fashion brands are now beginning to do, by spreading their message in this non-threatening way, they’re getting a much warmer reception from their millennial audience.

In marketing lingo, this is what’s started being known as a call to participation, instead of a call to action.

People like their fashion to be personal

High quality is something that millennials are very keen on, you’ll find that even on the high street, retailers are beginning to use better quality materials that not only look better, but feel and wash better too.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that millennials will want to have brand names slung across their chests, they will be interested in designers and such, but it’s likely that they’ll prefer it to be much more subtle. The quality should be able to speak for itself, instead of the words that are emblazoned across the front of a t-shirt, or pair of trousers.

According to research from Ypulse, it’s more important for people ages 13 to 34 years old to express their individuality with their clothes: So they will be more interested in a personal sense of style, rather than being fashionable.

Following trends can be the death knell if a millennial is torn between whether or not they should buy a piece of clothing. For this reason, retailers are advised to leave the words, best buy, bestseller, or popular item off their clothes – as long as they’re looking to keep making sales.

One group of people who seem be a big influence on this idea of individuality are millennial parents. Research from Ypulse has shown that parents in this age group are keen to be seen as more than just a Mum or a Dad and feel that their clothing and fashion choices are a big part of this.

Bargains are always a winner

Millennials have aspirations of status that separate them from the likes of the baby boomer generation, as such their fashion and the choices that lead them to their fashion will be completely different.

For example, a millennial will be more likely to splurge on an expensive leather jacket and then cut costs somewhere else, for example they might spend less on their groceries for a couple of weeks, or forsake going out for dinner for a month.

However, millennials are also big fans of hunting out a bargain, which is why you’ll see places like TK Maxx packed out, particularly on the weekend. This also takes care of two birds with one stone, as they’re not just getting a bargain, they’re also buying high-quality designer clothes.

In a slightly different manner, millennials also tend to be fans of investing in a couple of items that are more expensive and then pairing them with cheaper items.

For example, a millennial might spend a lot of money on a really good coat, high quality shoes or a bag that looks great and will last a long time. Then they will wear a multitude of different things with those items, tops from H&M, or trousers from Topshop and other high street retailers (although Topshop is at the premium end of the high street).

Vintage stores and boutiques have become more and more popular to the millennial over the past few years too. These types of shops feed into the millennial interest of finding unique pieces, that are not only individual, but also have a cool retro element to them.

Different apps and websites are also allowing millennials to fulfill their need for shopping without breaking the bank. Ebay has been constantly increasing in popularity for years, particularly as it is a double strain because you can buy things from it, but you can also sell things on it, which means that you can refresh your whole wardrobe and pretty much break even.