The Power of One Generation

“They” say millennials are changing retail. Being one, I can say I agree with this statement. We’ve all seen the articles and research reports that talk to the impact that the millennial generation has had on the retail industry, but for me it’s a reality that I live and breathe everyday.

This past weekend I treated my sister to a shopping spree, as part of her Christmas gift. (I know, a little late, but better late than never!) It’s been widely reported that millennials are extremely brand loyal, and I, unknowingly practiced that this weekend. My sister and I went to Barton Creek Square Mall in Austin, Texas, and we only visited stores that we have had previous positive experiences with, including White House Black Market, Gap and Nordstrom. We didn’t even take the time of day to pop into the other stores. I would rather spend a little more on an item knowing I’ll have a more enjoyable shopping experience in that store, rather than spending time at their lower cost counterpart.

An article last spring in Bloomberg broke down how millennials are spending – stating they are more frugal and careful about what they buy. Through my personal experiences I find this true, not just for me, but for my friends. Leading into the shopping spree last weekend, I told my sister what our budget was, of course factoring a $50 buffer because I know our shopping habits. I planned for the months leading up to not have a weekend of triple digit spending make me have a financially-fueled emotional break down. I researched the stores I thought we should check out and sent my sister links to outfits and stores that were reasonably priced.

Another attribute about millennials, and something that is very near and dear to my heart, is that we prefer paying for experiences, not products. Honestly, I’d rather have airline miles or rewards that turn into miles rather than a new pair of shoes. Okay, I’d still like the shoes, but I’d give up other parts of my spending habits to go on a trip. But if my spending can lead to those experiences, then even better! Millennials are now even being coined the “Burning Man Generation,” due to their spending on experiences instead of things. Millennials are living proof of the old saying “you can’t take it with you.”

Retail is shifting and millennials are spearheading this movement. It’s scary but empowering to know my generation is playing a huge part in changing the retail scene. Knowing that we have this power, how will the next generation – know as Generation Z or Boomlets – change it even more?