Just when retailers thought they had digital and multichannel cracked, there is now a potentially bigger nightmare
on the horizon, one that could threaten the existence of some: Generation Y.

Just when retailers thought they had digital and multichannel cracked, there is now a potentially bigger nightmare
on the horizon, one that could threaten the existence of some: Generation Y.

Generation Y is aged between 16 and 33 and is replacing Baby Boomers as the biggest consumer demographic.

And these consumers are like no others that have gone before.

It is like dealing with eels with ADHD. In the US, Generation Y is 25% of the population (24% in the UK) with $100bn to $200bn spending power and they’ll make or break brands just by paying attention to them.

Retailers need to study these consumers and understand them to comprehend what will make them pay attention and shop.

I met some clever guys recently from consultancy Flywheel (Generation Y themselves) who are commissioning in-depth qualitative research into Generation Y and its shopping habits and attitudes to brands - in other words, seeking the Holy Grail of the UK retail scene.

They shared some of their initial findings with me and frankly it’s shocking and disturbing. Generation Y could genuinely represent a doomsday scenario for certain retailers unless they get their act together.

For instance, 71% of Generation Y loved Tesco and 29% hated it. Good news for Philip Clarke.

But John Lewis, the current darling of the retail sector, was only loved by 26% and hated by 74%, which should be concerning for Andy Street. Poor old travel firm Tui was hated by 99.4%.

Don’t ignore or underestimate this shopping group - it is here now and its importance is only likely to grow. But the opportunity is to understand it, attract it and, Boom Baby, you’re on fire.

Speak to your marketing team and find out what it is doing to position your brand to become the organisation of choice to attract this group.

Do it now before it’s too late - you have been warned.

  • Jamie Zuppinger, Co-founder and joint managing director, Barracuda Search