You may have heard it said before that both Millennials and Generation Z will continue to be pivotal driving forces in the future of fashion retail. The two generations are often confused or lumped together as one, despite have a distinctly different set of behavioural traits and values. Even during the course of the pandemic, the two have been affected in varying ways, causing us to ask the question – if these two generations are so instrumental to our future success, where are they now at… and what do they now want?
Millennials and Gen Z are both demographics that are often described as being a wide range of things in sweeping statements, but also make up an extremely influential majority for many retailers’ consumer bases. We know that values-driven purchasing is still on the rise, as well as we know that younger people have been key players in that change of thinking and buying. Those issues being a top priority is yet to change. What is less clear, however, is the impact in the fallout of COVID-19. Gen Z are amongst the most likely to lose their jobs, meaning they will have the least disposable income to part with. The fondness for online shopping remains the same, but it seems likely the youth will also be the champions of the physical store revival, wanting for a more social side of shopping.
The tricky part of catering to younger consumers is the knowledge that they will choose what suits them at any given moment, known for being omni-channel shoppers. Life online remains at a satisfyingly constant pace, though each of the generations are paradoxical shoppers. They can switch for the celeb-influencer driven fast fashion to favouring an ethical, made-to-order slow process, giving them the reputation of not being brand loyal – possibly unfairly. What remains the most interesting (and positive), is that both generations kept spending as the initial lockdown hit. Looking at projections, is seems likely that Millennials and Gen Z will not be wanting to spend more on ‘non-essentials’ but will instead keep to a helpfully consistent level.
Gen Z will be more gung-ho about how this happens, but Millennials are more likely to favour methodical transparency. Style is favoured for younger shoppers, while those slightly older will head for price and quality. Brands that cannot match the demand for values-driven purposes, sustainability and inclusivity are sure to be quickly left behind by both generations. Coupled with prioritising this, those that offer a wide range of payment methods, alongside a ‘buy now, pay later’ option, will grow in consumer prominence. Their purchasing may become more deliberate, but both generations create the demand for a supply of modern commerce that doesn’t just exist on digital platforms.
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