And today this is a fait accompli: it is no accident that the online retailer AliExpress, a member of the Alibaba Group, decided on a spectacular gesture and ... launched a mini-station into orbit! Having tracked the location of the satellite through the app and making a “selfie” from space, anyone could get a discount – a welcome gift for “Bachelor’s Day” (Asian “Black Friday”).
However, not only the sellers have changed, but also the consumers themselves, and here lies the main paradox of the study. According to ISA experts, today, two different generations are starting to play an important role in the consumer market – the elderly and the young (millennials). First, about the elderly: it turns out that they became the fastest growing consumer segment in countries leading in terms of the economy, all thanks to the increase in life expectancy and the concentration of wealth in their hands.
Nevertheless, the main hopes in the consumer market are connected with another generation – millennials (whose age ranges from 18 to 36 years). Why precisely with them? The answer is simple: this is one of the most massive generations that is included or has already entered active consumer life. What are they? We will understand.
The modern consumer has three main characteristics, says Maxim Markin, a researcher at the laboratory of economic and sociological research at HSE, Maxim Markin. “He consumes character images, or what we call brands, and not any specific products. For him, the virtual is no less important than the real: that is, the purchase of an application or musical composition for a smartphone is comparable to the purchase of clothes or food. And finally, the use of a product or service becomes more important to him than possessing them”.
According to the expert, the focus of attention of the modern consumer is leisure practices that can be talked about online. Hence, the main consumer principle: “What is the difference, how old are your sneakers, if you walk around Paris in them?” That is, impressions and emotions are important, something that can be shared with friends on social media. And sellers already have to adapt to these new trends. What they do not think up to lure the millennial to the counters: for example, the popular sports store chain Lululemon offers free fitness lessons, which is called, without departing from the ticket office. And fashion boutiques have already adopted virtual reality glasses and are offering to transfer directly from the salon to a fashion show. Experts can only shrug: it turns out that modern young consumers have changed the very approach to shopping.
Retailers are accustomed to thinking of stores only as a place where they buy, but for millennials, this is a place to try, says Brent Franson, general manager of Euclid (specializing in consumer research), in an interview with Yahoo Finance.
According to surveys, 21 percent of millennials almost always first look at the desired thing in an ordinary store and only then order it via the Internet. And they do not part with smartphones and use them as an electronic wallet. And now, retailers are learning from the experience of the Amazon Go store, where there are no cash registers or sellers.
The buyer only needs to install a special application on the smartphone, which is automatically “detected” in the store, and that’s all – take everything you want from the shelves, the funds will be deducted from your account. To test the store of the future they are already offering in Seattle, but you cannot go that far: the equally popular overseas Walmart recently launched a program, thanks to which you can turn your mobile phone into a barcode scanner and avoid a queue for payment.
However, the millennials are not only about technology: another feature of this generation of consumers is that they are in principle quite limited in resources (both in the West and here in Russia). These services themselves emerged due to new technologies, but in general, they have a different view of the world and their own wallet.
In fact, the millennials say: I don’t need a thing, I need a service”, says Maxim Markin from HSE. “The same car is not a value for them; they just need someone to drive them. It is assumed that there is a certain benefit that one person has acquired and which he is willing to share for a modest reward. At first, it was Uber, now searching for fellow travelers through BlaBlaCar or sharing things like children's toys. The process of uberization in the broadest sense continues”.
In general, the economy of the current young consumers has already entered the legend. Large jewelry brands report a drop in sales, and experts suspect millennials: they say they do not need diamonds! And they suggest: perhaps the fact is that today's young people later marry, and therefore, wedding rings have nothing to do with it yet? But most agree on something else: all because the diamond cannot be eaten and one cannot live in it! And emphasizes: their consumer habits are formed by financial insecurity. But how many thanks to this insecurity were Millenials able to revive: well, for example, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 53% of American young people visited libraries in 2016 – this percentage is more than in other generations. And the second life of the notorious commissions: it turns out, and here millennial overtook everyone, says the Fashion Resale Report for 2018 (as quoted by the Free Press).
How consistent is Russia with all these trends? This is a difficult question.
“That model of organizing off-line trade, which has been the standard in the US or Europe for decades, has not yet become established and traditional in Russia, so generational differences in consumer habits are less noticeable – there are simply no ingrained habits”, – Boris Ovchinnikov believes. Co-founder and Head of Research at Data Insight. In fact, we did not have time to get away from the Soviet principles of consumption, as soon as we went online. It is there today that consumer communication with retailers is built.
This, however, does not prevent our retailers on both sides of the screen from making bright predictions: according to their calculations, the current “black Friday” in Russia can bring 52 billion rubles – 57% higher than last year. Come true? Let’s check these checks.