The older Generation X is spending more on apparel than Millennials

The older Generation X is spending more on apparel than Millennials

US millennial consumers are spending more on clothes each month, according to a new report, but continue to be outspent by the older generation X.

According to Cotton Incorporated's Lifestyle Monitor Survey, millennials (consumers aged 15-34 years old), spend more on clothes each month than baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964), at US$76 versus $47. But both continue to be outspent by the generation X shopper (those born between the early 1960s to the early 1980s) at $83.

The work put in by stores and mall owners to understand and appeal to customers is making a difference - especially among millennials - according to the survey, with the younger set significantly more likely than older generations to say clothes shopping is a fun social activity (70% versus 50%).

According to data by Kantar Retail, millennials are preferring to shop at non-department-based stores, with significantly more shopping at off-pricers (from 34% to 41%) and online (23% to 34%) compared with five years ago.

Mary Brett Whitfield, senior vice president at Kantar, however, says top-tier malls still have no problem attracting shoppers. “These malls are most likely to have a combination of entertainment, restaurant, and retail options that deliver a compelling experience, something that is more engaging than the ease of shopping online.”

Department store measures to lure the younger generation with youth focused apparel lines, faster fashion, celebrity collections and endorsed products are appealing to millennials, who are significantly more likely to shop at department stores today (48%) than they were five years ago (42%), according to the survey.

However, online shopping is the only venue to have grown its shopper base over the last decade, says Whitfield, with regional malls and power centres (defined by multiple, big-box category killer superstores or other mass retailers) suffering steep declines.

Whitfield says that as shoppers have been actively streamlining and simplifying shopping routines in recent years, second- and third-tier malls have become increasingly challenged. She adds that outdoor “lifestyle” centres have had some shopper fall-off too, but not as dramatic as regional malls and power centres.

The International Council of Shopping Centers’ spokesperson Jesse Tron, says there are still some very strong and powerful department store brands that resonate with a lot of different consumers. But the definition of the mall anchor store will change in the coming years because of the way consumers now shop.

“When the mall and shopping centre concept was first conceived, we didn’t have the internet,” Tron explains. “The known commodity was a department store. It was the biggest store and you’d go to a mall to see that - and then discover the other tenants. Now, you can go online and see all the other stores in that centre. There’s still the discovery aspect - people come in and don’t know all the stores. But they often go searching for a specific brand - which could also be a restaurant or entertainment. So that store or location is what brought them in that day.”