Millennials a.k.a Generation Y born between the late ’80s and early 2000 give or take, comprise of a whopping 440 million individuals in India alone, a demographic that’s larger than the U.S. and U.K. combined. With its successor ‘Gen Z’ population sitting at 390 million, millennials have collectively influenced major trends in tech and consumer behaviour hereby making them the focal point to reassess marketing strategies for many brands today.
As the generation that engaged first-hand with early tech developments like the mobile phone, computer, the internet and social media, millennials have contributed to a whole lot more than just the ‘selfie’. Often subjected to stereotypes like being a generation of smartphone addicts who live for ‘likes’ and feeling entitled to rapid advancement — a large chunk of which is actually true, Gen Y have also paved the way for some of the most profound digital advancements today — many of which have resulted in devices, apps and technology that offer us all more flexibility, better communication and faster computing.
With over 64% of India’s population projected to be between 20 and 35 years by 2021, millennials are set to shape the economy of the country in terms of what, how and where they spend. Psychologists have coined them as the ‘right now’ generation — perhaps it is this very need for instant gratification that led to the rise and fall of ‘see now, buy now’ format that although endured tried and tested failures at fashion weeks last year, is somehow still finding a way to prevail through capsule collections showing potential for version 2.0.
With about $2.45 trillion in spending power, millennials now represent the world’s most important consumer category. Dolce & Gabbana is one of the luxury fashion brands that has understood the power of this generation — for the past two seasons their shows have been sparkly love letters to the social media savvy set with the #DGMillennials tag trending. The Italian designer duo cast bloggers and influencers to walk the runway instead of the standard supermodel set at the menswear show earlier this year and invited the cream of the influential crop to be seated front row at the womens’ spring show. Budding Indian fashion and beauty brands have also understood the trend and are often found turning to millennial influencers like House of Misu and Love and Other Bugs for collaborations and promotions.
A report by researchers at Bain & Co. noted that brands must rethink their strategies and adapt to a millennial state of mind upon which sales of luxury items depend — success in the next decade requires brands to refocus on their customers to better anticipate and cater to their needs. The younger generation will be key as millennials and its successor Gen Z will represent 45 percent of the global personal luxury goods market by 2025. Still, when analysing behaviours, it is more correct to talk about a “millennial state of mind,” which is increasingly permeating across all generations and is thus more a psychographic phenomenon rather than a purely demographic one.
According to retail analytics firm EDITED, data compiled from an analysis of 30 U.S. luxury women’s apparel retailers across more than 5,000 brands, the greatest opportunity for luxury sales came in the accessories department.
“With a low price point and speedy trend shifts, fast fashion has contributed to the millennial demographic’s endless switching up of garments. But that’s not to say the young shopper isn’t attuned to the finer things in life, which is where luxury accessories play a key role. For millennials, accessories represent better luxury value as they’re a way to affiliate with a brand or lifestyle but can be worn across multiple looks and in different stylings,” a senior retail analyst explained.
Companies are paying attention, and they’ve gathered an impressive amount of data on millennial buying behavior. They’re acutely aware that the majority of millennial consumers — roughly 70% — will spend more on brands that support a cause they care about.
Born after 1995, Gen Z represent the other generation to have grown up in a world in which the Internet and mobile devices were always present, it will be interesting to see how the consumer dynamics change once they occupy a chunk as big as the millennials.