Young Adult Spending Power Losing its Punch

Millennial shoppers, those age 18 to 34, now represent the highest percentage of Americans who do not have enough money to cover their basic needs.

That’s according to WSL/Strategic Retail, which noted that nearly 25 percent of this young adult market say they are not able to make ends meet, compared to 17 percent of adults age 35 to 54 and 13 percent of those age 55 and over. These findings were revealed as part of WSL/Strategic Retail’s How America Shops MegaTrends report, Moving On 2012.

“The young adult market has always been known for being the most fashion forward, first to respond to trends and first to adopt to new retail channels,” said Candace Corlett, president of WSL/Strategic Retail. “But they’re also the group that’s been hit hardest by the economic recession which has left them struggling to find jobs and pay down student loan debt.”

CEO Wendy Liebmann added: “This decline in millennial spending power presents a significant challenge to brands and retailers who have long considered young adults to be the ‘golden ticket’ to sales growth. Businesses must begin rethinking their strategy to lure these shoppers to buy. At the same time, they must reevaluate the power of this generation to support new brands and stores.”

Moving On 2012 found the following:

- 80 percent of millennials believe it’s important to get the lowest price on most things they buy.
- 60 percent are likely to choose a lower priced brand over their usual, if they can save money.
- 57 percent of this demographic make a point to search online for discounts before shopping.
- 63 percent are now sticking to only those brands and stores they know they can afford.

The findings gain significance when compared with results of the 2010 MegaTrends study, showing a full 10 percent increase in those who now make getting the lowest price a priority, even over long-held brand loyalty.

WSL/Strategic Retail conducted its survey online Dec. 1-12, 2011, of 1,950 respondents drawn from a nationally representative online same.

Founded in 1986, WSL/Strategic Retail tracks the mindset, attitude and behavior that shape shopper trends, and predicts how they transform brands and retailers throughout the United States.


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