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3 Stats on Young Shoppers & Limited Edition Products

Are Gen Z and Millennials
actually interested in limited edition products? These three stats paint a full picture…


  • Over two in five of young consumers have purchased a special edition / limited release item from a brand
  • A product looking cool is the top reason they’re buying limited edition
  • A third of young consumers would pay more for a limited edition product

Streetwear and sneaker brands have been doing limited edition drops as a way to generate hype for their products for years. But as Gen Z and Millennials have grown up, brands across other industries have been borrowing the tactic, dropping special edition or limited release items to get young customers’ attention. Collaborating with celebrities and other brands that are especially popular with Gen Z and Millennials for limited edition lines has become a popular marketing move. Take Supreme, which has teamed up with Kraft Mac & Cheese, ChapStick, Oreo, and Pat McGrath—in the last two years alone. Others are continuing to lean heavily into the weird marketing trend and dropping unusual products as limited edition releases. Overall, these limited availability special products can be a good way for brands, both big and small, to attract buzz. But just how interested are young consumers in actually buying limited edition products? These three stats from our Future of Experiences trend report and Luxury behavioral research show just how many are buying in—and why:

Over two in five young consumers have purchased a limited edition item from a brand.
As mentioned, more brands across various industries have been releasing special edition / limited release items to generate attention among customers—and clearly young shoppers are interested. Forty-three percent of 13-39-year-olds have purchased a special edition / limited release item from a brand. Those with more financial freedom are more likely to have done so: 46% of 18-24-year-olds and 45% of 25-39-year-olds have purchased a special edition/limited release product compared to 35% of 13-17-year-olds. While showing up to nab limited edition drops in-person was once the norm,  purchasing directly from a brand’s website is the top way young shoppers say they buy a special edition / limited release item, with half of them telling us they use that shopping method compared to 28% who prefer to stand in line at a store. In order to streamline the process and make it easier for customers to obtain special edition product drops, some brands have created designated microsites. For instance, Hormel Foods made a site exclusively for its bacon-scented face masks, while Axe also created a microsite for its limited edition “dogecans,” both of which sold out almost immediately after dropping. But what are some of the reasons behind why young consumers buy these types of products? In our Future of Experiences trend survey, we asked 13-39-year-olds “Why did you decide to purchase that special edition / limited release item?” And the top reason is…

Over two in five young people decided to buy a limited edition product because it looks cool.
It can be difficult to define what cool is at any given moment, but the reality is that 42% of 13-39-year-olds who have purchased a limited edition item tell us they did so because, well, it looks cool. Buying a limited edition product because it’s fashionable (36%) and because it makes them feel unique (34%) were the next most common responses. Keep in mind, “cool” can mean a lot of things, from stylish to unexpected–and many brands have leaned into the latter. We told you about some of the especially weird and unusual products that brands have been putting out recently, including Oscar Mayer’s bologna face mask, which literally looks like a piece of bologna with eyes and mouth holes bitten out of it—and of course, sold out right away. But what some might consider weird or unappealing, young consumers may consider cool. After all, we are talking about the generation who made ugly cool again. Young females are even more likely than males to say that they are driven to buy limited edition items because they look cool, are fashionable, or make them feel unique. In fact, almost half say that they have purchased a limited product because it made them feel unique, and some brands are building this desire into their strategies. Squishmallows told YPulse: “A major part of [our] success comes from the exclusive assortments…which help drive collectibility.” Of course, the allure of limited runs also means that some young people are willing to shell out more to get their hands on a product that won’t be available for long…

A third of young consumers would pay more for a limited edition product.
When YPulse’s  luxury research asked 13-39-year-olds what kind of items they would be willing to pay more for, limited edition was the top response, with 31% saying they would pay more for a limited edition product. Given that many limited edition collections and products from popular luxury brands, celebrities, or unique collaborations that sell out almost immediately after it drops, that rings true. For example, when Kanye West (a.k.a Ye) dropped a $200 blue puffer jacket and $90 purple hoodie as part of the Yeezy x Gap collaboration, both products sold out and, as is now the norm, then began showing up on eBay for an asking price of up to thousands of dollars. The same happened with Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty debut perfume, which costs $130. And we can’t forget about Marvel and Lucky Charms’ special edition Loki Charms cereal boxes. While the boxes initially had an affordable price point of $8, only 3,500 boxes were available and resellers on eBay listed the box for hundreds of dollars. As so many brands have already found, limited edition lines can create intense demand, and with that demand a willingness to spend.

YPulse Business users can access the full Future of Experiences trend report and the full Luxury behavioral report

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