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The New American Family – and How It Impacts Retail

The definition of family is changing, and with it shopping. Find out what you need to know, now.march blogs-01 (1)

Last week we talked about how Millennials are shopping differently from previous generations. This week we want to dig a little deeper, past just women shoppers, to look at the changing face of the New American Family.

Here we are defining family as an adult plus a child under 18 in home. And when you look at it that way, what you see is surprising. When you look at the numbers you’ll find Millennial households have an increase in: women having children later, same sex couples with children in household, single parent households, multigenerational households, fathers participating in child rearing and household duties (including shopping) and finally, an increase in racial and ethnic diversity.

In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, Millennials are “the most racially diverse generation in American history: 43% of Millennial adults are non-white, the highest share of any generation.”

With all this in mind what changes can you make in your store to welcome these shoppers in?

Consider Men
Based on the research and trends, you are more likely to have men in your store than ever before. So welcome them. Treat them like real shoppers with real opinions, just like you would any other shopper in your store….and remember, they may be buying that candle for themselves!

Mirror your Shoppers in Marketing
When you post pictures on social media, or create new marketing materials, be aware of the races and ethnicities you are portraying. As we know, nearly half of Millennial adults are non-white. So why not mirror that  with the pictures you use. Sometimes, especially if you use stock art, it can be take more searching to find the right images that also include different races and ethnicities. So get a litle creative; consider also looking inside your friend circle to create the assets you need.

Tweak your Product Selection
According to Pew Research, multigenerational families are on the rise. Often Millennials are living with their parents as they start out in life, or older parents are moving in with their children as they leave the labor force. There are a combination or reasons for this shift from increasing student debt, to soft labor markets, to two parent working households making a grandparent important for childcare.

As this shift happens, shopping patterns change too. Often, we see multigenerational shopping where parents, kids and grandparents are all in the store together. You can take advantage of this shift by tweaking your product selection a bit to have items that appeal to younger and older audiences. This does not mean redoing your store or going away from your core business. But, it can mean a small selection of items that fill the gap and appeal to children, men or older people.

As Millennials reshape what it means to be a family, retailers and brands are scrambling to catch up. In fact, according to Galllup, “social norms within American society have shifted — and with them, nearly every aspect of our daily lives. It would be wise for marketers and business leaders to stay abreast of the kinds of changes millennials bring to American society, because understanding how this large group of consumers approaches the world — and the marketplace — could be lucrative. Getting it wrong, however, could hamstring and hobble a company for decades.”

Are you seeing a change in the American family? Have you adjusted your sales tactics, marketing or product lines as a result? We’d love to hear about your journey in the comments below!

Melrose International is an industry leader in wholesale home décor, giftware, and seasonal items. Providing outstanding products, service, design, and value since 1985!

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