A study conducted by LIM College shows that brands will have to come up with some new tactics if they want to retain millennial customers.

LIM College professors Robert Conrad and Kenneth M. Kambara, Ph. D. surveyed 275 LIM College students for their study Shopping Trends Among 18-25 Year-Olds.

Respondents were asked to evaluate the applicability of statements, which asked why they may have changed their brand of choice since 2013. The top responses were:

  1. Availability of desirable new alternatives (64%)
  2. The brand no longer fit their identity (66%)
  3. A simple desire/need to change brands (66%)
  4. The brand was no longer unique (64%)

When asked what their current favorite brand could do to remain the student’s brand of choice, 45 percent said nothing could be done. Of the 55 percent who responded that they might stay with the brand, top responses were:

  1. Develop innovative new products and services (80%)
  2. Improve design/style to reflect uniqueness (74%)
  3. Improve product quality (67%)
  4. Engage in causes, philanthropy, or endeavors that reflect my beliefs/values (63%)
  5. Limit distribution to maintain the brand’s exclusivity (54%)

Kambara said,”Retailers have become consumed with the customer experience from a supply chain perspective. There is very little happening to drive impulse purchases. There is virtually no new product innovation, with what little innovation there is coming from tech products or from the mode of delivery of fashion content. It’s up to brand managers and retailers need to fuel desire.”

Conrad noted an interesting development, which has been the addition of specialty brands in department stores (such as Bonobos, Topshop, and Madewell in Nordstrom) and national brands in specialty stores (J.Crew sells Nike and Barbour). He said, “The upshot is—since it is very hard to design, develop and distribute unique product 365 days a year—why not partner with others who are doing it well?”

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