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Mapping the millennials
Published:  04 January, 2017

Hammerson research identifies new shopping trends for the millennial generation

Hammerson’s latest consumer research into millennials’ shopping habits shows that attitudes towards home ownership and the sharing economy are influencing purchasing decisions, while social media and the latest technologies are informing the ways in which young people research and select products.

On behalf of Hammerson Verdict, studied the attitudes and shopping habits of millennials ¬ those aged 18-34 ¬comparing them with consumers in the 35+ age category.

The research revealed that home ownership is no longer a realistic aspiration for the majority of millennials. Less than half of those born in 1990 (47.0 per cent) are expected to be homeowners by the age of 40, significantly below the rate of home ownership for the previous two generations of 71.0 per cent.

This shift in attitude is expected to have an impact on shopping patterns, with millennials less likely to invest in big-ticket items potentially devoting a greater proportion of their income to discretionary and impulse spending.

With the prospect of home ownership moving further away from young people, the growing sophistication of the sharing economy has particularly influenced millennials’ attitudes to ownership in general. Over half (53.0 per cent) of millennials have used a sharing economy business in the last year compared to just 16.2 per cent of the 35+ age category, with accommodation (26.8 per cent) and taxi services (17.2 per cent) proving particularly popular for the younger generation.

Looking to the future, double the number of millennials agree that there are some products they don’t need to own and would prefer to rent when compared to the 35+ category (36.0 per cent vs 18.1 per cent), with an astonishing 63.6 per cent of millennials agreeing that they would consider using the sharing economy to rent products in the future (35+: 30.0 per cent).

Hammerson’s research reveals that millennials shop more frequently than older generations, with close to two fifths (37.8 per cent) shopping at least once a week in a shopping centre (35+: 18.5 per cent). When choosing a shopping destination, however, millennials are most likely to prioritise venues with a good selection of coffee shops and cafes (36.3 per cent) with retail mix (33.8 per cent), fast food restaurants (29.6 per cent) and entertainment outlets (23.9 per cent) also proving important in the decision-making process.

Millennials are also more likely to embrace technology as part of the shopping experience, with nearly half (47.7 per cent) responding positively to location-based marketing (35+: 23.0 per cent) and 55.8 per cent welcoming personalised promotions against a third (33.4 per cent) of the over 35 age category.

And social media continues to influence buying decisions, with 80.2 per cent of millennials who belong to a social media site confirming that they use social media when shopping (35+ 51.8 per cent).

Hammerson CEO David Atkins said: “Through this research, we’ve clearly identified how shopping habits have been shaped by the wider socio-economic environment. Attitudes towards home-ownership and the simultaneous emergence of the sharing economy will clearly have an impact on purchasing decisions for future generations. Likewise, the rapid adoption of technology, both in terms of how millennials shop and socialise, will continue to influence spending patterns.

“In an increasingly competitive market, shopping destinations that offer the best retail, dining and leisure experiences will continue to outperform. And those retailers that are quick to adopt these platforms and technologies, and demonstrate flexibility in their approach, are likely to prove successful in attracting the next generation of consumers.”