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Retail Trends of the Millennial Generation


Generation Y (Millennials) have confused many informed retailers for longer than a decade. They are characterized as those born within the early 1980s and the late 1990s (Fry, 2020). Most importantly, Millennials are currently the largest generation (Fry, 2020). Overall, about seventy-five million United States residents are part of this group, representing a broad collection of preferences. There is a stereotype that members of this group are poor and remain living with their parents until the late 30s. However, these kinds of people constitute a small fragment of the sort. To learn lessons for offline and online retailers, it is essential to examine what members of the Millennial Generation have in common, misunderstandings about the group, and their segments. Lastly, untouchable products of the economy can provide more context for successful business owners.

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Numerous Millennials are homeowners, married, have children, and are interested in expenses and university savings instead of playing computer games. Despite differences, such as the broad spectrum of race, gender, and interests, all Millennials are similar in connectedness to the digital world (Berman & Evans, 2017). Even though this generation was not entirely born in the age of the Internet, they went through their essential years of social and cognitive development using smartphones, computers, and more (Berman & Evans, 2017). Notably, Millennials have spent their adult years buying items, paying invoices, and banking through the Internet.

Moreover, they communicate with each other through social media and are very knowledgeable about Internet jargon. In terms of retail, Millennials find it particularly important for companies to have a strong internet presence and do not tolerate businesses that struggle with technology. This is good for most retailers capable of competing with other companies with an online presence. The possibility to sell goods and services online enables businesses to sell regardless of the time of the day, weather, traffic, and infrastructure that might be negatively influencing offline sales.

Some aspects of the Millennial generation are misunderstood, such as the periods of late-blooming and a substantial debt burden. They are described as “late bloomers” because of a high possibility of living at home for a more extended period, waiting longer to get married, having children, and buying their own house. Moreover, modern households are dealing with substantially higher student loan debt (Berman & Evans, 2017). All of the above creates a false image of Millennials being too poor for retailers to be interested in such a market. However, in reality, the Millennial generation is spending money using a different cost-benefit analysis (Berman & Evans, 2017). They prefer paying more for experiences and will more likely inherit wealth from other generations.

“Maven” is a category of Millennials that are more mature and financially independent. High-earning young parents experience several lifestyle changes. Thus, a full-time job and a more significant constant revenue reduced monetary dependencies on their families and limitations of undergraduate life, including the obligation of sharing their living space (Srivastava & Culen, 2019). This process tends to be affected by decisions and patterns of purchase of personal belongings and furnishings. Therefore, it is best to appeal to them by highlighting the quality and reliability of products, as these Millennials can afford dependable commodities. Moreover, I would like to emphasize the furniture’s materials focusing on comfort and sustainability, as these aspects are essential for this type of customer.

Furthermore, the group of Millennials called “Up and Comers” is similar to the previous group because of their high income. They are characterized by not living in a traditional family unit and by usually being male and single (Srivastava & Culen, 2019). Moreover, this category usually possesses a low-awareness level about products. Thus, it is essential to present a product as accessible as the target audience may perceive a product like electronics as complicated. The emphasis of the appeal should be on the exclusivity and the experiences a person might get from purchasing a product (Srivastava & Culen, 2019). Moreover, statistically, Millennials are particularly interested in such electronics brands as Apple, Samsung, and Sony, which might be the best companies for appealing to them (Srivastava & Culen, 2019). Overall, targeting this group can be done by drawing attention to comfort, exclusivity, accessibility, experiences, and focusing on the mentioned three companies.

Additionally, offline and online retailers have different tactics that can positively influence Millennials. First, this generation is predominant in the “sharing economy” sector, as they tend to be fond of renting products or buying those that propose short-term use (Srivastava & Culen, 2019). Thus, they are more likely to use services or goods that provide an opportunity to be rented or borrowed. Therefore, offline businesses can consider this trend and enable such services within their companies. Second, research suggests that such customers gain more pleasure in experiences than in physical possessions (Srivastava & Culen, 2019). Overall, Millennials focus more on the authenticity of their purchases rather than on the idea of luxury. Therefore, businesses can learn to adapt their marketing strategies to emphasize the uniqueness of their products, making them worth buying. Third, most Millennials trust their acquaintances and social media channels rather than conventional advertising (Srivastava & Culen, 2019). Thus, businesses need to build trustworthy, long-term relationships with their clients and use non-traditional advertisement techniques to seem more credible.

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Moreover, online retailers need to learn more about Millennials to satisfy their needs. Berman and Evans’s (2017) study estimated that 47% of the generation’s members preferred shopping online, and more than a half would choose a business with an instant delivery option. Therefore, the first lesson is to provide such customers with an opportunity to arrange quick delivery because the Millennial generation does not enjoy waiting for their products. In addition, Millennials are regularly overwhelmed with excessive volumes of information on various electronic devices and media outlets. Thus, online businesses should appeal to them with concise information that is easy to access. Lastly, digital retailers should use a simple design for their web pages because these individuals prefer to get data and purchases in a fast manner.

Furthermore, market trends are dynamic, as specific industries can be considered expendable or untouchable. Consumers declare products such as a new piece of clothing, eating in upscale restaurants, and purchasing expensive makeup, or a high-end handbag to be expendable. In contrast, untouchable services and goods are described as the most essential. Figure 1 in the Appendix presents that on the top of the list of untouchable items are digital services, mobile technologies, video-streaming providers, and more (as cited in Berman & Evans, 2017). Overall, these trends are beneficial to online retailers rather than offline ones because the economy is shifting towards Internet-related businesses.


In conclusion, the Millennial generation is a unique and valuable member of the modern market. This group of individuals tends to be active on the Internet, which is suitable for retailers as it brings various advantages to their businesses. Furthermore, even though the stereotypical image of a Millennial does not include high income, it is widely a misconception. Moreover, Millennials are divided into various subgroups, including “Maven” and “Up and Comers,” all of which need an individualistic marketing approach based on their distinct features. Offline and online retailers should learn from trends associated with this generation to be more successful in business. Finally, digital services are considered to be untouchable, which is less beneficial to offline companies.


Berman, B., & Evans, J. R. (2017). Retail management: A strategic approach (13th ed). Macmillan.

Fry, R. (2020). Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation. Pew Research Center. Web.

Srivastava, S., & Culén, A., L. Implications for transitions to sustainable consumption: Finding Millennials’ behaviour archetypes. IASDR 2019 (International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference). Web.


What is Untouchable? 
Figure 1. What is Untouchable? 

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