According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials will soon be the largest living adult generation. That means fashion houses need to master how to market to millennials. Millennials are tech-savvy and strategic when it comes to shopping for clothes and they see the brands they wear as an extension of their own personal style. As celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe famously said, “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” If your brand wants to speak to millennials, consider incorporating the following millennial-specific trends into your brand strategy.
7 Millennial Style Trends
Millennials value experiences – whether that experience is dancing at a music festival with the hottest DJs, or exploring mountains like Mt.Kilimanjaro. Millennials lead an adventurous lifestyle and want to wear clothes that reflect that. That’s why athletic fashion brands like Nike and Adidas are the most-followed brands on Instagram. On Instagram, Nike has 77.5 million followers; while Adidas has 19.9 million. While your brand’s main line may not be athletic wear, it’s worth taking a cue from Nike or Adidas and appealing to consumers’ appetite for adventure.
Direct to Consumer Branding and Sales
Millenials don’t need to rely on local retailers to buy their clothing. With the dawn of e-commerce – the world is their wardrobe. Millenials have connected with direct to consumer fashion brands like Warby Parker and Fashion Nova in a big way. As a 2018 report by the Interactive Advertising Board (IAB) states, “In the consumer economy, we are in the midst of a shift from a century old ‘indirect brand economy’ to a ‘direct brand economy.” Millennials appreciate direct to consumer brands as they’re seen as more accessible and personable than the traditional big brands. Direct to consumer products can also often be customized exactly how they like.
Creating closer connections. Fashion houses have been hiring spokespeople for years, and for a good reason. Celebrity endorsements are proven to drive profit. For years, fashion houses like Dior and Coach have signed multi-million dollar deals with Hollywood actors like Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lawrence to drive sales. However, some millennials see traditional spokespersons as out of touch, unauthentic or unrelatable. Influencers, on the other hand, are generally “everyday people” who have developed a following because their personal style and opinion connects with consumers. As these influencers speak candidly about the pros and cons of products in reviews, they’re seen as trustworthy. Influencers often have an area of fashion expertise – whether that’s shoes, beauty, athletic wear, or street fashion – this also makes them more credible than a traditional spokesperson. One study found that 94% of brands that use influencers say that influencer marketing is an effective practice. Influencer marketing is a powerful tool that can deliver more than 10x the ROI of traditional advertising.
Here are other top factors millennials consider when shopping for clothing:
Accessibility and Affordability
Are your clothes priced at an affordable price point? If your clothing is more expensive than the competition is it clear why your brand is the superior choice? If your prices are high and your sales are slow then consider how you can refresh your branding to illustrate the value of your brand’s craftsmanship.
Millennials are informed and are committed to supporting brands that reflect their core values. Research has shown that it’s crucial companies act now to reduce their carbon footprint and in response, top brands like H&M are ramping up their sustainability efforts.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Ethical fashion goes beyond just sustainability. Millennials also want to know that their clothes are made by brands that make ethical choices, like paying their workers fair wages. Recent scandals like the Bengali clothing factory fire have cast a light on poor working conditions for some garment workers. Millenials are passionate about promoting social justice, and now actively research companies before supporting them. By practicing corporate social responsibility, you can deepen your relationship with millennials and in turn generate brand loyalty.
Gender neutral designs
Millenials, as a cohort are more liberal and fluid than other generations when it comes to gender. As a result, many companies have released gender neutral designs like Calvin Klein’s gender neutral perfume: CK2. The gender-neutral perfume was created specifically for millennials and has garnered acclaim from wears of all ages and genders. “CK2 is a champion of the millennial spirit both in its gender-free, dual-faceted nature and sleek design that embraces the new age. A new scent made for #the2ofus,” says the company. The perfume was a hit and the company has gone on to create many more unisex perfumes and t-shirts targeted at millenials.