While you might not picture a 20-something on a smartphone as the typical Walmart consumer, some recently released data indicates the contrary. Millennials don’t only shop at Walmart as much as the rest of America does, they actually hit Big Blue somewhat more often.
If Walmart’s internal data is to be believed, two-thirds of the U.S. population between the ages of 20 and 35 shopped at a Walmart in the last month. Walmart Chief Merchandising Officer Stephen Bratspies also told investors gathered at the Raymond James conference that the firm had seen 4.5 percent growth in its market share of mothers in that age cohort.
For any retailer, this particular emerging demographic is significant, especially as the group ages into the high-spending, child-rearing years. Not only do they have all those clothes and diapers to buy, they also have many years of household furnishings, cleaning supplies, toys and gallons upon gallons of milk to buy ahead of them. Locking in their loyalty early on is critical.
Walmart, however, has ground to make up, especially as it has to compete for the hearts and minds of America’s emerging spending class with Amazon. This is not a fight totally devoid of offerings. Amazon has seen its meteoric growth dim by some counts in recent months, but those offerings are narrowing as the firm expands Prime membership, gains increased control of its supply chain logistics costs and offers an increasingly technologically advanced digital marketplace.
Walmart may have the third most popular eCommerce app out there, but it still has some distance to cross before it catches category leader Amazon, particularly among the coveted millennial demographic.
The year so far has not been kind to Walmart in the headlines, as the previous two quarters have seen performance outlook downgrades and investors increasingly worried about the future fate of the world’s largest retailer. Buttressing those diminishing results with emerging strength among the “it” consumer group is both a nice change of pace reporting-wise and at least some early evidence that Walmart’s digital reinvention is producing some results — and capable of producing more.