Millennials are perhaps the most coveted, and certainly the most misunderstood, demographic in the retail world. Stereotypes abound. Think bearded hipsters eating artisanal pickles in Brooklyn. Think always-on, tech-obsessed folks wearing clothes that evoke the working class of 1920. Think bikes-not-cars, rent-not-buy, date-not-marry. But those are stereotypes, not people. And Millennials are people, albeit young people. And young folks are always a bit different from their elders. In 2014 we came across some interesting facts about how Gen Y shops and what it buys. Our data show that although there are differences between Millennials and other consumers, those differences aren’t what you’ve been told to expect. Here are three unusual, quirky and interesting things we learned in 2014 about what separates Millennials from previous generations:
Millennial women walk differently
Some 60 percent of the growth in women’s footwear is being driven by Millennials. And they don’t like the same shoe brands that older women like. Gen Y women are looking for shoes that are “trendy and unique.” And Tom’s, a brand that didn’t even exist until 2006, is their favorite casual/dress brand.
Millennial guys smell nicer
In the men’s grooming and fragrance business, the “most engaged” group of consumers are older Millennials. Guys between 25 and 34 years of age constitute some 21 percent of all men who buy and use fragrances. And when they buy a fragrance gift set, they want something that does more than just make them smell better. They are three times more likely than younger guys to pick a fragrance set that includes shaving or skincare products.
Millennials of both genders eat better
Millennials have a strikingly different, and arguably much healthier, attitude toward food than do older folks. Gen Y folks want more fresh food in their diet, and they’re more interested in organic food than are other generations. That translates into a different approach toward snacking. Millennials like to snack as much as anyone else, but they view snacking as an opportunity to eat well. Gen Y looks for yogurt, protein bars and fresh fruit to eat between meals. And with snacks like that, it seems that dieting isn’t necessary. Just 12 percent of Millennials diet, versus more than a quarter of Baby Boomers.