Miami — With nearly half of all shoppers falling into the millennials demographic by 2020, understanding and being able to reach this consumer group is critical, according to Linda Nordgren, vice-president and general manager, general merchandise and homecare, for Safeway, Inc.
To truly capture the demographic's attention, speed to market and staying ahead of trends is critical. She gave for example the projected popularity of items featuring foxes as a result of the viral video “What Does The Fox Say,” which was released in the fall and averaged some two million views a day.
“We met with 100 general merchandise suppliers in 10 days and all the products had foxes on them,” she said. “This is going to be the biggest trend for the next 18 months.”
While the traditional timeline for developing a product and marketing plan was 24 to 36 months, Nordgren said it must be much faster to garner the attention of the demographic, which has a timeline of just 18 months. “Are you ready to capture trends at the speed millennials expect,” she asked rhetorically. As an example, she pointed to Hershey Co. chocolate bars and M&M's both personalized with fox graphics and specially made, in a short turn around, for the State of the Industry Conference.
However, Nordgren explained that attempting to track trends through established social media platforms is becoming futile, as the demographic has begun shying away from Facebook as it has become more popular with older demographics.
“To be successful, we must understand these consumers better,” she concluded, adding that bringing in millennials as interns can help glean insights into this burgeoning demographic.
Caption: Understanding and captivating the millennial generation is becoming increasingly important, explained Linda Nordgren, of Safeway, Inc., as this demographic is poised to account for nearly half of all shoppers by 2020.