May 16, 2012

Tough Times Squeeze Millennials; Open Possibilities for Outdoor Firms

The experts on Millennials at TRU have just published the TRU Study 2012 Spring Update. Their findings on teens and twenty-somethings suggest that outdoor companies may find opportunities by considering how youth are reacting to current economic challenges.

Millennials are paring their budgets in categories formerly used to display success or social status, including electronics and housing, and are demonstrating frugality — underscoring many of TRU’s findings:

  • The coupon craze shows no signs of abating. Using online gift certificates registered impressive gains among Millennials. Given that no other form of payment saw much movement, the growth in online gift certificates is probably due to the “Groupon effect.”
  • Savvy online shopping. Many keep their virtual shopping carts full, waiting for a special sale to signal it’s time to buy.
  • Credit card debt? No thanks.  Both credit card ownership and debt levels have declined among Millennials. 

According to a report by WSL/Strategic Retail, 80 percent of Millennials think it’s important to get the lowest price when shopping, up 10 percent from a survey in 2010. Sixty percent will choose a lower-priced brand if they can save money, and more than half search for online discounts before shopping.

With times tight and material goods hard to come by, Millennials seem to be adopting the attitude that life is for living, not for collecting things. While they’re reducing spending on items that denote success and social standing, Millennials are still spending on entertainment and leisure, which offer a real and tangible (if temporary) improvement in their lives.

Given this focus on experiences instead of objects, it is important to note that according to TRU, sports and outdoor recreation maintain a strong appeal for teens and twenty-somethings. Among the 15 most popular activities among Millennials are four outdoor activities — bicycling, running, camping/hiking and fishing. Similarly, the Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report 2012 indicates growth in outdoor recreation among youth and young adults.

Outdoor firms that market to Millennials’ needs and motivations are best placed to succeed — and for Millennials, “connectedness” and “fitness” top the list of motivations. When asked their top reasons for being active outdoors, Millennials cited “to be around my friends” and “to get fit and stay in shape.” Given the shift away from conspicuous status items, outdoor firms that connect their products with vibrant customer experiences may have a leg up with Millennials.

Learn to Tap into the Millennial Market
At Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) is offering two opportunities to learn about Millennial consumers, their perceptions and interactions with the outdoor industry, and their expectations from retailers and brands.

August 2 – Outdoor Retailer Summer Market
7:00 – 9:00 am: OIA Industry Breakfast: TRU will explore Millennial consumer trends and their impact on the outdoor industry. The presentation will include research insights, rich video segments, as well as a live panel of Millennials.

11:00 am Breakout Q&A Panel: TRU will lead an informative Q&A session, with attendees posing questions to the Millennial panel.

Don’t miss these opportunities to gain valuable insight into Millennial motivations and consumer habits.

OIA Members Receive Discount on TRU Data
TRU is the world leader in tweens, teens and 20-somethings research and insight. Their syndicated programs provide robust data about young people around the world. A TRU subscription includes The TRU Study, released twice a year; TRU View®, an immersive trend and insights report; The TRU Presentation, a thought-leadership showpiece event at your site; and TRU Reports, quarterly mini-reports into critical client concerns, including emerging youth trends. OIA members interested in subscribing to TRU data receive a special OIA members-only discount. Contact TRU for details.