How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand? That was the question posed in one of the songs from “Sound of Music.” Retailers might have similar feelings about Generation Y, known as Gen Y.
Retailers are finding it challenging to capture the attention of today’s Gen Y consumers, according to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA), which just completed a survey of Gen Y shoppers. For one thing, Gen Yers — young people aged 17 to 26 — can surf and watch TV at the same time. Thirty-four percent of Gen Yers polled say they regularly watch the tube while they browse the Internet.
A huge percentage of them (89.4 percent) say they ask others for advice before they buy something, and 93.5 percent say they give advice to others about buying decisions. Even more significant for retailers, 40 percent say their apparel purchases are influenced by word of mouth.
Here’s another problem for retailers: 74.4 percent of the Gen Yers say they spend their free time surfing the Internet, and only 47.4 percent say they shop during free time. Sixty-eight percent say they regularly or occasionally search for clothing online, and 20.3 percent say Internet advertising influences their apparel purchases.
When this demographic segment does go shopping, 13.5 percent head to specialty stores when shopping for women’s clothing. Discount stores get 9.9 percent of that traffic, and department stores get 8.5 percent. Ditto for men’s clothing — 13.4 percent say they shop for men’s clothes at speciality stores, 11.3 percent at discount stores and 11.1 percent at department stores.
Remember, these shoppers are a noteworthy bunch. In yesterday’s Retail Strategies, we learned that 68.4 percent of women in this age group spend between $50 and $150 on a pair of jeans. (Mercy!)
These moonbeams are worth catching.
RAMA is a division of the National Retail Federation. Also participating in this survey were SLANT, a Chicago-based promotions company, and BIGresearch, a consumer market intelligence firm.