The Millennial generation is expected to outspend Baby Boomers by 2017, yet retailers underestimate the size and purchasing power of this consumer group, according to a new study. Millennials

The study from Berglass + Associates and Women’s Wear Daily found that retailers do not fully understand the needs of Millennials and are employing business strategies and tactics that do not apply to this customer.

Millennials (14- to 33-year-olds) number 80 million and have an annual spending power in the U.S. of $200 billion.  By 2030, Millennials will be larger in volume than all other generations combined.

“Millennials have different motivations, attitudes and behaviors than previous generations, and retailers need to adjust their business strategies accordingly in order to thrive,” said Les Berglass, CEO of Berglass + Associates. “For the first time in several decades, we will see a new member of the C-suite, who will be responsible for driving two-way communication between the Millennial customer and the brand and for developing initiatives that will deliver long-term growth.”

Key findings unveiled in the survey include:

  • Approximately half of respondents are unaware that Millennials are expected to outspend Baby Boomers annually within five years.
  • Millennials rely most on their friends to make buying decisions, yet more than a quarter of respondents mistakenly believe that online advertising is the number one influencer of Millennials’ purchasing activity.
  • Only 36% of respondents from companies with both physical stores and e-commerce sites offer a seamless customer experience, yet Millennials expect the channels to be integrated.

To learn more about Millennials, check out the AudienceSCAN report available on the Research Store at ad-ology.com.

[Source:  “What Happens When Millennials Get the Wallet.”  Berglass + Associates; Women’s Wear Daily.  24 Oct. 2013.  Web.  25 Oct. 2013.]