How Millennials are changing the face of retail

The last generation of the 20th century – the Millennials. It’s me and it may also be you. But what you really want to know is, how are Generation Y affecting your business?

Why a focus on this generation? Well it’s key to understand the consumers who are shopping differently. That’s right, Millennial’s are shifting the retail landscape.

Here’s a snapshot of how the Millennial generation are defined:
Currently aged 15-35, they are digitally savvy, socially aware and environmentally conscious yet economically battling through. The Millennial is characterised with traits of confidence and spontaneity, championing acceptance and equality yet display a sense of entitlement and narcissism.

Many of these characteristics create a consumer who have been classed as one who spends as they earn, regularly shopping to maintain a lifestyle and image to fulfil their narcissistic Millennial vs. Non-Millennial Shopping Frequency tenancies. The generation is seen as impulsive shoppers, more likely to ‘treat’ themselves than any other generation. Could they be the ideal consumer? Maybe, however baskets tend to be made up of low-cost items. Items which won’t provoke a sense of guilt or over-indulgence for the financially unsecure, cost conscious Millennial. Good news for many highstreet retailers, but bad news for those in the luxury goods business.

With their ‘futuristic’ buying habits, the Millennial has also been dubbed the Social Shopper due to their heavy digital involvement within shopping experience – 45% say they spend at least an hour a day browsing retail-oriented websites (DDB Worldwide).

Their digital involvement is constantly expanding, it’s posting wish-list items and purchases within their online social circles, its web-window-shopping including product research and price checking, it’s seeking our peer reviews to influence purchase decisions, and its brand engagement particularly via social networks.

Millennial Online Activity







It’s been suggested the Millennial lacks brand loyalty, however a number of studies have revealed that the Millennial demonstrates similar behaviour to previous generations when it comes to sticking with a company. The key difference is consumer expectations overall have risen, the Millennial expects an experience rather than simple transaction.


  • Deals and Exclusives

We’ve already mentioned the Millennials tendency to impulse purchase, however it’s key to remember the financial restraints this generation are facing. Deals and exclusive offers provide retailers with a hook to increase engagement, loyalty and ultimately sales with Millennial Shopping Habits their audience. Wording is key as well. Millennial Marketing has revealed this generation responds better to ‘deals’ rather than ‘discounts’. Deals connotate as the item being exclusive and limited, whereas discount associates with selling off end-of-line, mundane stock.




  • Device Compatibility

Growing up surfing the technology wave unlike any generation before, 1 in 5 Millennials do ALL their internet browsing, networking and shopping via a smartphone or tablet, meaning it is fast becoming standard practice for eCommerce sites to be mobile compatible. A study by Interparcel showed consumers are demonstrating a lack of patience when online, only waiting 10 seconds for a webpage to load. A site which the consumer will find frustrating to load/navigate/read will soon see the consumer going elsewhere.

  • Engagement and Personalisation

Millennials display an increased awareness and scepticism of traditional marketing and advertising. Instead they are more likely to respond to personalisation, creativity and engagement marketing, enhancing their experience with the brand both online and offline, and/or providing them with content to share socially. You have to talk to Generation Y rather than at them.

  • Convenient Delivery/Returns

“…the need for instant gratification which really chimes with a Millennial audience. Even when ordering online they crave immediacy. Millennials are twice as likely to pick up online groceries on the same day as purchase and 46% will pay higher for same day delivery” Victoria Buchanan – Future Laboratory Trends Researcher

Millennials have become accustomed to a ‘one-click’ mentality and this is reflected in the changing demands of convenient delivery – convenient both in speed but also convenient causing the least amount of disruption to their lives. It is this change which has seen click & collect swiftly rise in popularity within recent years. InPost understands the need to place control in the customer’s hands, sending delivery details via email and text message and providing QR codes for quick collection within seconds. InPost Parcel Lockers are also housed at ‘en-route’ locations including petrol stations and local shops, all accessible 24/7. With InPost, customers are able to collect their deliveries at a time and place convenient for them.

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