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When it comes to buying clothes, “Age Isn't Everything”
May '16
Courtesy: ATKearney
Courtesy: ATKearney
A new study in the US by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney and market research company The NPD Group has warned that apparel brands and retailers run a risk if they choose to target a single group of customers.

“Apparel brands and retailers that focus predominantly on Millennials risk alienating other generations of buyers, including Gen-Xers and Boomers,” says the study “Age Isn’t Everything.”

While many retailers are targeting Millennials to drive growth, the study highlights areas of opportunity across all generations and uncovers multiple purchase drivers within each generation.

With the recent downturn in performance by department stores and slow growth in total US apparel sales, retailers and apparel brands are searching for innovative strategies to connect with consumers.

“Everyone’s talking about Millennials now, but there’s real risk in ignoring other generations who still wield tremendous purchasing power,” explains NPD Chief Industry Analyst Marshal Cohen. “And, when it comes to Millennials, the other thing many retailers fail to understand is that not all Millennials are created equal. Depending on lifestyle and life stage, Millennials could be more—or less—likely to buy your brand.”

According to the study, Millennials do surpass other generations in sheer volume of items purchased in key apparel categories. Compared to Boomers or Gen X, Millennials are 1.5 to 2.4 times more likely to have purchased three or more items in a category during the past six months. However, Millennials represent only 38 per cent of total apparel spend in the US, indicating that other generations should not be ignored.

Furthermore, the study illustrates that age alone does not drive purchasing. According to the study, three main factors – kids, active lifestyles and fashion-forward attitudes, drive greater purchasing for apparel in every generation.

According to the study, parents of all generations purchase more jeans and activewear compared to those without kids. Consumers who are physically active purchase more—even in categories outside of activewear. And those with fashion-forward attitudes, shop more for all brands, not just high fashion.

Helen Rhim, A.T. Kearney principal and co-author of the study commented, “It is interesting to note that life-stage differences in purchasing behaviors appear to be most significant within the ranks of the Millennials. Married Millennials purchase more than their single peers, and Millennials with children are far more likely to be heavy purchasers of comfortable clothes (jeans and activewear) rather than dresses and bras."

Hana Ben-Shabat, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study, stated, “Age is only one piece of the puzzle. By targeting Millennials as a cohort, retailers are missing the real drivers of purchasing. It’s important to target each segment and adjust your value proposition accordingly.” (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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