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Millennial Stereotypes Aren’t Always Right

NACS Insight Convenience Summit – Europe speaker offers new research on motivations and habits of Millennials.
June 10, 2014

​LONDON – Stereotypical attitudes to Millennials are misplaced and brands who don’t understand this group are targeting them in the wrong way, according to Greg Hodge, director of global retail at CEB Iconoculture.

Presenting at the NACS Insight Convenience Summit – Europe last week, Hodge revealed new research that showed Millennials (age 18–34) make up nearly 20% of the population in each of the five largest European countries. The majority live in urban areas and many (31%) have kids, although they tend not to be married.

Hodge agreed with the common assertion that Millennials are facing tough economic times but they are finding ways to cope. He also asserts that the traditional paths and lifestyles are changing: “Materialism and the desire for mass consumption has ended for this generation. They are finding different routes on their path,” he told Summit delegates. According to Hodge, Millennials exhibit different attitudes, such as thriftiness.

“For them, it’s cool to save — there’s no stigma going to Aldi and Lidl for these people,” he said. Hodge highlighted the growth in thrift stores and private labels in markets around the world as evidence for this trend, and suggested that Millennials were more likely to congratulate their peers on thrifty spending rather than consider them a “cheapskate.” These are traits Millennials will carry into future life stages, Hodge added.

Quality also trumps quantity for this group: “The things they save for and pay for themselves, they value most and that has implications for retailers,” explained Hodge. Millennials also value experiences over material possessions and simplicity is key in marketing to this group, he said. 

Clarity, focus and ease are also vital components in appealing to Millennials: There’s no point in offering the lowest prices if it takes ages to find them. To highlight clarity, Hodge highlighted the French grocery retailer Super U, which breaks down the prices on its shelves to reveal how much is paid to the producer, in taxes and the to retailer. 

Millennials are always trying to break the system and a find a loophole, Hodge warned. “We should be looking for the loophole first,” he said. Hodge concluded by urging Summit delegates to embrace the Millennial community, help them to live in the present, make them feel savvy but, importantly, make it fun.