Young adult spending power losing its punch

Millennial shoppers, those ages 18-34, now represent the highest percentage of Americans who do not have enough money to cover their basic needs according to WSL/Strategic Retail, a leading authority on shopper behavior and retail trends. Nearly 25% of this young adult market say they are not able to make ends meet - as compared to 17% of adults ages 35-54, and only 13% of those age 55 and over - according to How America Shops MegaTrends report, Moving On 2012.
"The young adult market has always been known for being the most fashion forward, first to respond to trends and first to adopt to new retail channels," said Candace Corlett, president of WSL/Strategic Retail. "But they're also the group that's been hit hardest by the economic recession which has left them struggling to find jobs and pay down student loan debt."
Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL/Strategic Retail, added, "This decline in Millennial spending power presents a significant challenge to brands and retailers who have long considered young adults to be the ‘golden ticket' to sales growth. Businesses must begin rethinking their strategy to lure these shoppers to buy. At the same time, they must reevaluate the power of this generation to support new brands and stores."
The How America Shops MegaTrends report, Moving On 2012, found that:
80% of Millennials believe "it's important to get the lowest price on most things I buy."
60% are likely to choose a lower-priced brand over their usual, if they can save money.
57% of this demographic make a point to search online for discounts before shopping.
63% are now sticking to only those brands and stores they know they can afford.
The findings gain significance when compared with results of the 2010 MegaTrends study, showing a full 10% increase in those who now make getting the lowest price a priority - even over long-held brand loyalty.
WSL/Strategic Retail conducted an Internet survey from Dec. 1-12, 2011. The survey included 1,950 respondents drawn from a nationally representative online sample.

WSL/Strategic Retail draws several conclusions from the study to enable retailers to define and prepare the right retail strategy as consumers return to shopping, but with new rules and restrictions that influence what they buy and where they buy it. For more information or to purchase the report, please visit, call 212-924-7780 or email

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