What Luxury Products Are Millennials Actually Buying?

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

We asked Millennials what luxury products they’re actually buying. Find out where they’re allocating their spending power…

Yesterday, we told you about the luxury brands Millennials most want to own. And while their answers give us insight into their aspirational purchases—and into what brands are staying relevant—what they’re actually buying today tells a bit of a different story.

Traditional luxury stores and brands are striking out with young consumers. In 2016, the global luxury market shrunk for the first time since 2009, according to CNBC, and Forbes predicts that 2017 is not expected to fare much better. A recent brand equity poll shows Nordstrom is losing favor with Millennials as they skip luxury department stores for off-price options, and MediaPost reported that while the full-price store’s sales showed a 2.8% drop from 2016, discount chain Nordstrom Rack’s sales spiked 2.4%. In other words, Millennials like their premium products, but not at a premium price: a recent Ypulse monthly survey found that 60% of 18-35-year-olds say they’d prefer to buy products that are a “good value for the money” and 33% would prefer things that are “premium but affordable,” versus 5% who prefer to buy “top quality.”

This gets at the heart of the issue for Millennials: it’s all about their bottom line, and their values. According to Forbes, the biggest problem with the luxury market is that today’s consumers “look at what the luxury brands offer and see that they are heavy on marketing, but light on authentic values that really mean something to them personally and in their current lifestyle. While this is giving whole new industries the chance to be considered luxury, it’s also creating an atmosphere where luxury is in the eye of the beholder. All of which begs the question: what kinds of…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I eat [Pizza Hut] least two times per month; it's one of my favorite places to go to eat pizza.”—Male, 35, VA

More Millennials are asking for cash wedding registries, and it’s bad news for stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma. Increasingly, young couples are asking guests to contribute towards their nest egg, travel, or anything they feel like buying themselves. Companies like Zola and Honeypot have boomed in popularity, offering a personalized platform for their cash registries. However, their success with wedding registries is taking “a key customer acquisition tool” away from home décor stores. (Insider)

The beauty industry is catering to Customization Nation, as more companies crop up to blend unique beauty products for each customer. But can the trend scale? Truly personalized products, like the ones offered by hair care start-up Function of Beauty and makeup company Bite Beauty, take time and resources. But companies that offer base products with just a personalized element or two could be the future of the industry. And big-name brands are getting their feet wet too: Lancôme and CoverGirl have both offered custom-made foundations. (Glossy)

Nordstrom is taking risks to survive retail’s big shifts. Instead of shuttering stores, they’re opening experimental retail locations, revamping their department stores, and making their mark in Manhattan with their first store openings. The long-standing brand also bought ecommerce site HauteLook and the subscription service Trunk Club. So far, their risk-taking hasn’t proved to be a boon to their bottom line—but only time will tell. (WSJ)

Hollister is teaming up with AwesomenessTV to reach Gen Z with a YouTube series. “The Carpe Life” will be a part of a broader campaign, which includes influencer marketingand appeals to young consumers’ love for active, adventurous lifestyles. "The Carpe Life" follows Hollister's first YouTube series, “This is Summer” which “boosted key brand metrics by double digits,” adding on to their overall positive impact on Abercrombie & Fitch’s rising bottom line. (Marketing Dive)

Netflix is switching its strategy, putting less money into “prestige films” for the Post-TV Gen. Instead, they’re churning out more direct-to-video releases. Last year, they bought ten titles at Sundance while this year they had none. While they continue to create original content like the recent The Cloverfield Paradox, they’re betting on less-than-award-worthy films to maintain their hold on Millennial viewers. (The Atlantic)

“Basically if I found out any brand was supporting causes I do not support and actively oppose, I will avoid buying their products.”—Female, 27, CA

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