Retail in 2016 will be about Mobile and Millennials - UK

This blog is by Liz Parry, Strategic Account Director at Teleperformance UK.

The effect of the millennials, or Generation Y (those born after 1980), is less pronounced in the UK than the USA, but it is becoming a significant factor in how retailers plan their customer experience strategy. In India, half of all working adults are millennials and in the USA millennials became the majority of working adults this year, whereas in the UK it is estimated that by 2020, 16.3% of the total population will be millennials.

With markets like the USA experiencing a bigger push from Millennial customers, what can the UK learn from these markets about what is important to this group of shoppers? A recent study by Blackhawk in the US identified these key findings: 

  • Millennials rank gift cards as the safest method of making online purchases. 
  • 89 percent use smart phones to connect to the Internet on a daily basis.
  • 55 percent rely on social media as their primary source for shopping news and information, easily out distancing television, which ranked sixth.
  • 95 percent have the same or greater sensitivity to price as last year.

I’m not sure the gift card observation applies so much to the UK market, but what generally leaps out at me from these stats is mobile, mobile, and mobile. Just look at how much value millenials give to TV and TV advertising. Now TV is in sixth place for information about what to buy, which is such an incredible change in the past few years. How many of us now watch TV by our planner, fast forwarding the TV ads?

Nine out of ten millennials are using the mobile Internet on a daily basis, getting recommendations about what to buy from their social friends, and so we are in an environment where these customers research products, are checking prices, and purchasing, all from their phones. Even if they visit a store, many will still make the actual purchase by phone or in store digital kiosk, using the store visit to see the product (if in stock) and using it as a chance to kick the tyres of whatever it was they were thinking about purchasing. A truly converged multichannel experience, with the benefit of not having to carry the product home!

Though the UK has fewer millennials than the US as a proportion of the total national population, how this demographic group behaves is important as they define future demands in the marketplace. From this data I can see that retailers need to be on top of their mobile strategy in 2016 because that’s where the customer journey starts and ends for so many customers today.


Photo by FaceMePLS licensed under Creative Commons.


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