Among the forces working to influence and change retail — and do so into the 2019 holiday shopping season, as well as the 2020s — is the rise of bridge millennials.
As PYMNTS research has documented, bridge millennials are a unique group of consumers, comprised of individuals between 30 and 40 years of age who exhibit cultural characteristics of both Generation X and millennials. Having had the time to establish their careers, they enjoy higher spending power than younger millennials, who are just now dipping their toes into the professional world. This segment also spends approximately $2,225 per year on retail purchases, which is about $830 more than baby boomers and nearly $300 more than younger millennials.
Consider apparel, on which U.S. consumers spend $400 billion annually, and where bridge millennials are having a significant impact, according to the PYMNTS Connected Consumer Report™. Among the findings: 25 percent of bridge millennials who shop online prefer Amazon, and 50 percent of consumers prefer omnichannel shopping experiences. That means apparel retailers must offer something Amazon does not (or otherwise find a way to deal with the Amazon preference) or provide the type of consumer experience demanded by these consumers, or risk losing their businesses.
After all, Generation X, millennial and bridge millennial consumers want more from their favorite stores than just clothes — they want experiences. Better yet, meaningful experiences. Top apparel retailers are doing their best to provide these for them, inventing new and interesting ways to engage with consumers, both online and in stores.
That’s not all. Bridge millennials are also helping to push progress toward so-called super or everyday apps. These everyday apps would not necessarily be designed to perform all these functions themselves, although they could, such as WeChat Pay does. They would simply be more of an interface to the apps that they already built to allow consumers to make access to them easier and more convenient.
Among the bridge millennials in a PYMNTS study, 37.8 percent said they would be interested in using everyday apps if they were available. The demand for a grand, unifying app is there — just not the supply.
Retailers are also taking note, for both traditional millennials and bridge millennials. For instance, Walmart-owned Jet.com has broadened ts selection and rolling out same-day delivery in the Big Apple for the kinds of items millennials purportedly crave, like craft beer and local foods.
Were one playing millennial Bingo, that effort would fill at least two spaces: As a group, millennials are attracted to artisanal products from local (and organic) producers. Further evidence for that comes from a potentially unlikely product: canned tuna, the latest item that millennials are accused of killing off. A study from the Organic Trade Association (OTA) said that 52 percent of consumers who prefer organic products are millennials, and that such consumers eat vegetables 52 percent more often than older generations.
Bridge millennials are also the consumers coming into their peak earning years, after all. PYMNTS found 48 percent of them prefer to buy products online, and 17 percent use mobile phones to purchase apparel and accessories. While most love shopping in stores, bridge millennials also use their mobile devices like a compass, researching products and making decisions on the go.
Retailers and payment services providers risk falling behind if they ignore those preferences. PYMNTS found that bridge millennials are more likely to abandon a merchant than other consumers, lending significant weight to securing their loyalty, and putting tremendous pressure on retailers to pursue strategies that can keep these influential consumers happy. Bridge millennials promise to be a major force in retail for years to come.