NPD: Retailers Should Look Beyond Millennials

New research from The NPD Group and A.T. Kearney finds that while Millennials are the biggest buyers of apparel, other generations hold significant buying power as well.

April 6, 2018

NPD: Retailers Should Look Beyond Millennials

New study finds that Millennials are more likely to purchase three or more items in one apparel category.

New research from The NPD Group and A.T. Kearney finds that while Millennials are the biggest buyers of apparel, other generations hold significant buying power as well.

The new study, Age Isn’t Everything, also uncovers multiple purchase drivers within each generation.

The survey is based on responses from 2,355 men and women who provided information on purchasing across jeans, activewear, dresses and bras. The study considered consumers heavy purchasers if they purchased three of more items in the same category.

"Everyone's talking about Millennials now, but there's real risk in ignoring other generations who still wield tremendous purchasing power," says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, NPD. "And, when it comes to Millennials, the other thing many retailers fail to understand is that not all Millennials are created equal. Depending on lifestyle and life stage, Millennials could be more–or less–likely to buy your brand."

According to the study, Millennials do exceed other generations

in volume of items purchased in key apparel categories and, compared to Boomers and Gen X, are 1.5 to 2.4 times more likely to have purchased three or more items in one of the four categories in the past six months. However, the generation only represents 38 percent of total apparel spending in the U.S.

Additionally, the study highlights that age alone does not drive purchasing. Other factors that drive greater purchasing for apparel (in every generation) include:

  • Kids–Parents of all generations purchase more activewear and jeans compared to people without kids.
    • Active lifestyles–The study found that consumers who are physically active purchase more, even in categories outside of activewear.
      • Fashion-forward attitudes–These consumers shop more for all brands, not just high fashion labels.

        "It is interesting to note that life-stage differences in purchasing behaviors appear to be most significant within the ranks of the Millennials,” says Helen Rhim, principal and co-author, A.T. Kearney. “Married Millennials purchase more than their single peers, and Millennials with children are far more likely to be heavy purchasers of comfortable clothes (jeans and activewear) rather than dresses and bras.”

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