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How to Capture the Millennial Customer

November 30th, 2012 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Where are Millennial consumers spending their money? Boston Consulting Group recently conducted an in-depth survey of Millennials (age 16-34) and older consumers (age 35-74) to compare their behaviors and attitudes. The study, Millennial Passions: Food, Fashion and Friends, has some valuable insights into how companies need to market to these consumers, particularly restaurant and retail businesses.

Why do you need to care about Millennials? BCG spells it out:

  • Millennials are forming strong opinions and are vocal about sharing them, not only with friends and family but with strangers online. As such, they’re influencing the purchasing habits not only of those they actually know, but also of people far outside their social circles.
  • Millennial attitudes and preferences about marketing are early indicators of marketing methods that will ultimately take hold among a wider, non-Millennial audience.
  • The older Millennials are about to enter their peak earning and spending years—and contrary to popular belief, they like to spend money.


  • Eating out ranks above consumer electronics, apparel, footwear, beauty and cosmetic products and accessories in terms of where Millennials like to spend their money. This age group eats out more often than non-Millennials (no matter what their income).
  • When it comes to menus, they love fast-casual and takeout restaurants, as well as exotic, organic and Asian foods.
  • They also love to eat with friends and coworkers and are more likely than non-Millennials to do so.
  • Whether your restaurant is quick-serve or white-tablecloth, you’d better serve up a great experience—Millennials expect no less.

Retail Apparel

  • Both Millennial men and women shop for apparel more often than non-Millennials. The difference was especially striking among men (38 percent of Millennial men shop more than twice a month, compared to just 10 percent of non-Millennial men). They also spend more on apparel than non-Millennials.
  • When looking for fashion information, they turn to magazines, retailer websites, social media, fashion blogs and store associates.
  • When shopping, Millennials like to go in groups and are more likely to consider their friends’ opinions before making a purchase.
  • Just as with restaurants, the “experience” is important. Millennials care more about in-store events, store environment and getting personalized help than non-Millennials.
  • They expect in-store and online offerings to be integrated to make shopping simple and convenient.

Image by Flickr user Geoff Peters 604 (Creative Commons)



The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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