Born between the years 1980 – 1996, there are 80 million Millennials in the U.S. They are currently the largest demographic, making up 25% of the U.S. population. They have $200 billion in buying power and constitute 21% of all discretionary purchases.
Peter Pan Generation
American sociologists designated Millennials as the Peter Pan generation, because of their perceived tendency to delay certain rites of passage into adulthood such as buying a house or even moving out of their parents’ homes, delaying marriage and having children. Currently, just one in four Millennials has children. A 2016 study showed as many as 32% of Millennials live with their parents, and overall are more likely to live with their parents than with a relationship partner, an unprecedented occurrence since this data first started being collected in 1880.
There are two factors at play here. First, finances are playing a role in these delays. Only 35% of Millennials consider themselves middle class, much less than any other generation. Student loan debt, lack of initial employment after college, and underemployment all contribute.
But, the idea of what it means to be an “adult” is different for many Millennials than it is for other generations. They place more emphasis on personal skills, characteristics, and abilities over the more traditional rite of passage events such as marriage, having children, and becoming homeowners. Overall, a shift in priorities and a life patterns means a shift in spending, too.
Why Are Millennials Important for Flea Markets?
Within the next year, Millennials will have more buying power than any other generation. As market vendors, if you’re not targeting Millennials you’re missing out on some of your largest opportunities. Millennials will soon make up half the U.S. workforce. This group is also finally starting to build families, adopt pets, and buy homes, which means their buying power and influence over the retail industry will only increase in the coming years.
Millennials Love Collaboration
40% of Millennials want to participate in co-creation of products and brands and 70% feel a responsibility to share feedback after a good or bad experience. For Millennials, relationships with their favorite brands are two-sided. If you want them to trust you and choose your business, you need to listen to Millennials and involve them in your process.
Luckily, collaboration doesn’t have to be complicated. 62% of Millennials say if a brand engages with them on social media they are more likely to become a loyal customer. An act as simple as responding to customers’ comments on your Facebook or Instagram page can go a long way. Not to mention, encouraging shoppers to share their purchases and market experiences makes great user-generated content and word-of-mouth marketing. If you have a few customers who are your biggest fans on social media, be sure to reach out and say thank you. In short, taking the time to start conversations, on social media or in real life, is the easiest way to collaborate with your Millennial shoppers.
Millennials Want to DO Something
More than 3 in 4 Millennials (78%) would choose to spend money on a desirable experience over buying something desirable. We all know Millennials spend a good amount of their discretionary income on experiences like going out to eat, movies, travel, and concerts.
Build a better relationship with Millennials by creating additional opportunities to engage with your business. For example, many athleisure and athletic stores host yoga classes or sponsor athletic contests and races. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but incorporating an interactive element such as jewelry making or painting into your booth can go a long way in retaining Millennial shoppers.
Personalization Matters for Millennials
It’s not a secret that today’s shoppers want a personalized experience, and Millennials are no exception. But, personalization doesn’t necessarily mean having super advanced targeting technology. For Millennials, personalization comes in the form of friendly and knowledgeable employees. Overall, Millennials want business policies that are consumer-centric and easy to work with. Practices that make shoppers feel like a number instead of a person can scare away Millennial customers for good. Millennials want to know your efforts are coming from a genuine place of providing the best possible experience for each customer as an individual
Millennials Love Shopping Local
Great news for flea market sellers and independent businesses. Just like Millennials love products and experiences that feel personalized to them, they also enjoy supporting local businesses. Millennials shop small because of the principal of supporting small businesses, but also because local businesses offer products that can’t be found anywhere else. Stock your booth with products that are locally made, handmade, or are reflective of the town you live in to truly delight your Millennials shoppers.
This notoriously tricky group is shaking up cultural norms and business models across the U.S. The retail industry, including flea markets, is no exception. By ignoring this group, vendors risk of alienating one of the country’s largest populations. However, by operating under the principles of collaboration, engagement, and personalization, you can keep Millennial shoppers coming back for more.