Five Things to Keep in Mind About Millennial Shoppers in 2018

Millennial preferences and spending habits have disrupted virtually every aspect of the retail sector. Here's a roadmap for attracting and retaining millennial customers, in five charts.

No. 1: They Like a Discount

If there’s a coupon out there, millennials will find it. And discounts definitely impact the way they shop. November 2017 data from CouponFollow found that more than eight in 10 millennials surveyed said they used coupon codes when shopping online—and they used them often. Separate data from YouGov mirrors CouponFollow’s findings. YouGov revealed that nearly a third (34%) of respondents look for online coupons on a weekly basis, and another 40% do so with print coupons. But, millennials aren’t just looking for a discount for a pair of shoes they like. They’re also looking for deals on restaurants too.

No. 2: Don't Call Them Cheap—They Want to Spend

While deals are constantly on the horizon for many millennials, they’re also spenders when it comes to certain purchases. An August survey, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, found that nearly seven in 10 younger millennials would be very likely to purchase at least one big-ticket item—including furniture, a computer or a large home appliance—by the end of the year. And separate research from Deloitte looking at millennials and luxury purchases found that many of these young consumers report several triggers that motivate them to make a luxury purchase, like a big payday or even when they’re feeling a bit low.

No. 3: They’re All for Tech and Its Convergence with Retail

Artificial intelligence, chatbots, big data? If it elevates the retail experience, then millennials are all about it. A survey Salesforce conducted earlier this year gauged how consumers felt about shopping-related technologies that help streamline the retail experience. For the most part they were for it, especially if they were able to receive personalized offers based on their purchasing history. In general, millennials were more optimistic about retail technology capabilities than their older cohorts. And let’s be honest, if anyone is going to buy something directly from a chatbot, it’s millennials.

No. 4: Avocados for Avocado Toast? Add to Cart

A study from food industry firm Food Marketing Institute (FMI) reveals that out of all age groups, millennials are most willing to use online-only stores for their grocery needs. More than four in 10 millennials said they shopped this way at least occasionally—that’s a rate almost 80% higher than in 2015. In contrast—and unsurprisingly—older consumers, those ages 53 and older, were less likely to shop this way. Similarly, a Morning Consult survey found that younger people are considerably more likely to use an online grocery delivery service.

No. 5: It All Comes Down to Convenience

Whether it’s subscribing to a meal-kit subscription service to receive a prepared meal, buying something online and having the option to return it whichever way is easiest, or being able to scan their own products in-store and then pay via an app, making sure the path to purchase—as well as the post-purchase experience—is seamless is important to keeping this demographic happy.