Canadian Retailer - Holiday 2016 - 13
"They're a totally new
group, with different
behaviours and expectations. Beyond just their
age, the other key thing
that sets them apart is
their sense of responsibility and accountability. They feel like they
need to do something to
make things better."
tomers, and even what products they sell
or services they offer."
Today, there are 2.5 billion millennials worldwide-90 million of them in
North America. They currently make up
one-third of the global population, and
more than 80 per cent of new mothers.
Although as a generation they're broke
and underemployed (an estimated 43 per
cent live at home), by 2018 millennials will
have more spending power than any other
generation. And in North America alone,
they stand to inherit close to $30 trillion.
- MARCIE MERRIMAN,
Yet, despite their size and influence, Kruh
Ernst & Young
argued, many retailers don't really understand the millennial demographic as well as they might think.
"If you as a retailer listen to them, they will be loyal forever," he noted.
"They'll want to be part of you. If you don't listen, they'll drop you in
And while millennials will be top-of-mind for most retailers in the
years to come, it's clear that generation Z won't be far behind.
"They're a totally new group, with different behaviours and expectations," explained Ernst & Young's Marcie Merriman. "Beyond just their
age, the other key thing that sets them apart is their sense of responsibility and accountability. They feel like they need to do something to
make things better."
While there's some overlap with the millennial demographic, gen Z are
also distinct from them in many ways. For starters, they're young (between 12 and 19 currently). As well as being socially responsible, authenticity drives many of their purchasing decisions. Their key influencers
are YouTube stars, rather than conventional celebrities. Sixty-three per cent of those
surveyed by Merriman's team would prefer "real people" in their advertising. And
their changing notions extend into all
manner of areas-most notably, gender.
"They believe it should be an individual
decision," Merriman said, "what gender
you ascribe to. It changes from day to day,
and they want to be fluid. And they look
at brands that take more of a 'traditional'
view as being dated, or even offensive."
The clear takeaway from Retail West's
speakers was simple: there are big changes
ahead. The evolving needs of today's consumers will require retailers to respond in
kind, and quickly-in terms of technology,
analytics, marketing, and even corporate
culture. It may not be a seamless, or even
a smooth transition. But either way, it's going to be a necessary one.
"Dream big," Kruh urged the crowd.
"Start small. You can take these concepts
and start down the path, even as small as
some of you might be. Because that will
help you grow. It's not about how much you
spend. It's about mindset. You need to make
sure that everything you do starts with the
customer. [...] In serving today's consumer,
you need to get involved directly."
THE LOSS PREVENTION ISSUE | CANADIAN RETAILER