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Nielsen report aims to ‘break the myths’ of millennial generation

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — They are 77 million strong in the United States — on par with baby boomers — and account for 24% of the country’s population. Enter the millennial generation. Their incomes may still be on the rise but this group’s size and age range equates to impressive purchase power in the long term, which is why retailers and suppliers are wise to stay on their radar. That’s according to new research by Nielsen.

The new Nielsen report, dubbed Breaking the Myths — “No Strings Attached” Generation, will be the topic of a webinar to be held March 25.

“While the millennial generation founded the social media movement, having been born (1977 to 1995) directly into a new era of technology, their interests, backgrounds and aspirations span well beyond what’s listed on their Facebook pages,” Nielsen stated. “This generation’s digital tendencies, however, mean that marketers and brands need to step up their games in order to keep up and engage with them.”

Key highlights from the study —

  • Diverse, expressive and optimistic: Millennials are characterized by more than just their age. As a group, they’re more racially and ethnically diverse than any previous generation. They value self-expression and artistic pursuits. They’ve been hard hit by the recent turbulence in the economy, but their high education levels and optimism foreshadow their potential future success.
  • Driving a social movement back to the cities: If they’re not still living with mom and dad, millennials are fueling an urban revolution looking for the vibrant, creative energy cities offering a mix of housing, shopping and offices right outside their doorstep. They’re walkers and less interested in the car culture that defined baby boomers.
  • Struggling, but they have an entrepreneurial spirit: They’ve been hit particularly hard by the Great Recession. They’re dealing with high unemployment, low income and high student loans as they try to establish themselves. However, invention is the daughter of invention and some millennials have hit it big by investing in startups and following the own entrepreneurial pursuits.
  • Deal shoppers and desire authenticity: Given their small paychecks, they are savvy shoppers always on the lookout for a good deal. millennials put a premium on authentic, handmade, locally produced goods – and they’re willing to pay more for products from companies with social impact programs. Getting a good deal is a priority, but they won’t compromise on quality. They want to feel good about what they buy.
  • Connected and want the personal touch: Technology defines millennials. They sleep with their mobiles and post status updates from the bathroom. When interacting with companies via social media, they value authenticity – they want to feel like they have a personal, direct interaction with the brand – and in return, they’ll advocate and endorse that brand.

 

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Sam’s Club piloting online subscription service

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Sam’s Club is piloting a new online subscription service — My Subscriptions — that allows consumers to automatically replenish consumables like diapers or printer cartridges, The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch reported Wednesday

The service is in direct response to Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program, the report speculated, indicating that Amazon is gaining traction in capturing the business of repeat-purchase items. 

"Food is very important to the club business," Mark Miller , an analyst at William Blair & Co, told The Wall Street Journal. "As Amazon expands its food offerings, there’s going to be a bigger overlap going forward."

 

 

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Sears Holdings posts Q4 results, sees drop in comp sales at Kmart

BY Antoinette Alexander

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holdings announced on Thursday that it narrowed its fourth-quarter loss and, during 2013, made process on its transformation.

"Our focus on serving our members through an integrated platform that is most convenient for them — whether in store, at home or on the go — is resulting in improved member engagement, which is a key component of our member strategy. For the full year 2013, sales derived from Shop Your Way members grew to 69% of total Sears full-line and Kmart sales, up from 59% last year. Our online and multi-channel businesses grew 10% over the prior full year,” said Edward Lampert, Sears Holdings’ chairman and CEO.

During the quarter, revenues decreased $1.7 billion to $10.6 billion compared with revenues of $12.3 billion in the year-ago period. The revenue decrease was primarily due to lower domestic same-store sales and having fewer Kmart and Sears full-line stores in operation.

For the quarter, same-store sales dropped 6.4%, comprised of decreases of 5.1% at Kmart and 7.8% at Sears domestic stores. The company noted that the decline at Kmart reflects declines in a majority of categories, most notably electronics, grocery and household, toys and pharmacy.

The company did not break out pharmacy sales.

Net loss attributable to Holdings’ shareholders during the quarter was $358 million compared with a loss of $489 million in the year-ago period.

Looking ahead, Lampert expressed optimism as the company continues to invest in its transformation.

“We are proactively learning more and more each day about how our members want to shop and what resonates with them. We’re utilizing this feedback as we continue our transition and invest in two primary areas: Our member based platform, Shop Your Way, and integrated retail,” Lampert told analysts. “These two key elements represent a different way of doing business at Sears Holdings, and are the foundations of our other programs and initiatives. Within these two key areas, we’re making substantial investments in engaging members with personalized, relevant content, offering more capabilities to our members, continually enhancing member engagement and building out our platform technology.”

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