Over the last few years, retail shops and economic development groups have been studying and researching the power of the millennial. This large market is incredibly important to business and the economy, and identifying how to funnel the spending power of this generation can create major economic impact on cities, shopping centers and store owners.
I think we can agree that millennials are a different generation than the ones that have preceded them, but then again, isn’t that the case for every “new generation”? The millennial generation, however is the hot point for spending and economic impact. Case in point: there are eighty million millennials in America alone and they represent about a fourth of the entire population, with $200 billion in annual buying power.
Millennials start new trends and make their voices heard (or seen) across a variety of industries from fashion to food. Furthermore, while there is a slight misnomer that “all” millennials are living downtown, studies show there is a strong contingent that live downtown—namely the subset that includes college-educated 24-35 year olds.
Harnessing Millennial Spending Power
We know that millennials have a lot of buying power and a good portion are living in and around downtown, but maybe you aren’t sure how to reach them or access them.
There’s an oft-repeated adage that goes something like “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. As it turns out, this “chain-reaction” phrase holds up for millennials, too… and the way to a millennial’s heart is through their smartphone.
Over 87% of millennials admit to using between two and three tech devices at least once a day. They also spend approximately 75 hours a month within mobile apps. With these facts, it’s hard to deny that digital marketing should be your primary focus.
Whether it’s in the car, on the couch, lying in bed, we (myself included) are always on our phones. As a whole, millennials download more apps, spend more time browsing the internet and accessing social media than any other generation.
Not only are they accessing them, they are also sharing their actions, opinions and experiences and influencing their peers and networks on a regular basis through multiple platforms. This means that downtown businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues have a built-in target audience right in their metaphorical backyard.
The catch or hangup many businesses forget is that millennials don’t want to be “sold” to. A recent study done by Forbes and Elite Daily came up with a few interesting insights on how millennials operate:
- 33% of millennials rely mostly on blogs before they make a purchase, compared to fewer than 3% for TV news, magazines and books. Older generations rely more on traditional media, whereas millennials look to social media for an authentic look at what’s going on in the world, especially content written by their peers whom they trust.
- 43% of millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news. They first have to trust a company or news site before they even bother reading the content that they produce. Blogs are meant to be authentic and many of them are run by a single individual. millennials connect best with people over logos.
- 62% of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. They expect brands to not only be on social networks, but to engage them.
- 87% of millennials use between two and three tech devices at least once on a daily basis. 39% are either very or completely likely to purchase a tablet computer in the next five years, while 30% are for wearable devices.
- 60% said that they are often or always loyal to brands that they currently purchase.
- 75% said that it’s either fairly or very important that a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit. Millennials love brands that support their local communities and would rather purchase from them than competitors.
Building an App for your Business
Downtown Partnerships and Economic Development Groups have an incredible opportunity to engage their community through digital marketing and reach a generation known for its impulsiveness. Well-designed digital marketing campaigns can influence brand loyalty and help turn some of that mobile traffic into foot traffic.
Our platform, ShopKit, is built specifically for this reason. We make it easy for downtown groups to communicate with their audience, keep them up-to-date with who and what’s happening downtown and showcase the atmosphere available when they visit.
Harnessing the power that comes from combining an app, social media and an intuitive website position your brand that is sought out by millennials and can amplify your marketing efforts and brand awareness. To learn more about Shopkit, and the movement we can create for your group, contact our Shopkit specialists.