In 2015, Inc. Magazine called Millennials “the most brand-loyal generation.” Public perception of the generation has changed, however. Millennials are now considered “the least” loyal customer demographic, according to research, to the great horror of the retailers who need to win the loyalty of Millennial shoppers to grow their businesses.
A recent study by Daymon Worldwide found that just 29 percent of Millennials usually purchase from the same brand, compared to 35 percent of Gen X-ers. In fact, Gen X is now being held up as the most brand-loyal generation of consumers.
Not all studies came to the same conclusion. In a recent Valassis survey, only 34 percent of respondents said that they “had one preferred retailer for each purchase category,” but the percentage of customers with preferred brands was much higher among Millennials (47 percent), and Millennial parents (57 percent).
The idea of Millennials as fickle customers actually doesn’t extend to Millennial parents at all, which is ironic considering that over 40 percent of Millennials are indeed parents. The National Retail Federation reports that Millennial parents are more brand loyal than parents from any other generation; their purchasing behaviors, however, are slightly different. Millennial parents were found to eschew traditional Millennial brands in favor of brands that focus more on price, rather than on quality.
Forbes reports, “Millennial parents were found to index below their non-parent generational counterparts at Millennial-favored stores like H&M, J. Crew, Sephora and the Apple Store. Additionally, Millennial parents were found to index higher at Dollar General, Home Depot and Kohl’s, just to name a few.”
Millennial parents do, however, share some buying behaviors with their childless counterparts: quality, price and customer service are priorities across the board, and consistently delivering on these can help retailers win lasting loyalty from this generation of consumers.
“To keep parents of any generation happy, brands and retailers must deliver on both price and quality,” Katherine Cullen, director of retail and consumer insights for NRF, told MediaPost. “But Millennials are very concerned about good customer service and are twice as likely to back out of a purchase for lack of it. For Millennials, service ranks ahead of convenience, selection and loyalty programs.”