The affluent millennial set is a force on the rise, with surprising tastes that are altering the very definition of luxury. Brands need to tune in to adapt and attract their attention, as Leah Swartz of FutureCast explains.
Forget what you thought it meant to be affluent because the millennial generation is quickly flipping that definition upside down.
Unlike previous generations of affluence, the millennial affluent population is 64 percent female. This changes the game for many marketers and brands that typically targeted higher income households.
Now, as we are seeing a shift in the demographics among affluent millennials, top brands will have to adjust their marketing strategies in order to connect with the changing face of affluence in the United States today.
“ We are seeing a cultural shift as a byproduct of increasing female influence ”
Nowadays, access to greater incomes is more attainable, especially for millennial women who are starting their careers at near parity with men. Affluent millennial women are not just affluent because of their male counterparts, but because they’re key financial providers to the household.
As millennials are quickly becoming major contributors to the work force and entering their prime career years, these female affluents aren’t inheriting their money but rather rolling up their sleeves and making it happen on their own.
As we see millennial women taking on different roles and equaling the playing field, it is changing the way the general female population is behaving and how women are being viewed culturally.
So, what does this mean for brands? We are seeing a cultural shift as a byproduct of increasing female influence. Luxury brands that originally targeted women with the message that luxury goods are “deserved” need to shift their message to acknowledge that luxury goods are “earned” in order to better represent the hard working mentality of female affluent millennials.
We are seeing this transition from deserved to earned take shape among affluent female millennial brand preferences.
“ When it comes to millennials, it is not about the logo or the brand – it’s about the Value, Quality and Buzz ”
In our partnership with YouGov Brand Index, we were able to tap into a panel of 5,000 daily respondents to measure the top retail brands out of a sample of 1,250 brands among female millennials making an annual household income of more than $100,000k.
The top 10 retail brands earning the most Buzz among affluent female millennials are:
2. H & M
6. J. Crew
7. Ann Taylor
8. Banana Republic
9. Victoria’s Secret
Did this list surprise you? It surprised us too. So, we did a little more digging.
When it comes to millennials, it is not about the logo or the brand; it’s about the Value, Quality and Buzz – especially among affluent millennials. Affluent millennials are quickly redefining the luxury market. When we think about luxury of the past, it was the big bold logo across the chest of your shirt or the bedazzled back pockets of your jeans that identified you as someone who had the means to make a luxury purchase.
Now, millennials are not seeking out products that show off their paycheck. For a millennial, it is all about how the individual consumer enhances the brand, not about how the brand enhances that consumer – a seismic shift from traditional luxury marketing. According to Eric Brione, author of Generation Y and Luxury, millennials are unimpressed by luxury but entranced by subtler ways of conveying a brand’s identity.
This especially true for affluent millennial women – just because they are making more money does not mean they are knocking down the doors of major luxury merchandisers. Instead, they are aligning with the more “millennial” budget shopping habit and splurging when they think the value and quality is worth the extra cost.
Target may not seem like a destination luxury outlet, but the company’s partnership with major designers like Lilly Pulitzer, Alexander Wang and more has created an environment where millennial shoppers feel like they are getting both the greatest bang for their buck and the opportunity to pick up a brand name they couldn’t anywhere else.
Even for affluent millennials, nabbing a great dress from Lilly Pulitzer at Target is just as a good as buying it full price at the boutique. Brands in the luxury market can emulate Target’s approach by creating a shopping environment within the luxury space that is more inclusive rather than exclusive.
“ Now, millennials are not seeking out products that show off their paycheck ”
1. Be inclusive – invite everyone to the party
2. Its not about the price tag, it’s about the Quality, Buzz and Value
3. The definition of the luxury is changing. Millennials focus on the greater bang-for-the-buck not the bling.
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