August 13, 2018 / Insight

Why consumer representation in retail is just as important as creating store experiences.

Millennials dominate industry conversation dialogues. The consumer group has even acquired a colour – millennial pink. Their parents, mostly boomers, share similar values and command immense spending power.

A large cohort, by 2030, boomers are set to increase by 56%. Whilst these consumer groups remain to be on the radar of brands, what about the consumer group that sits between millennials and boomers? Aged 38-53, Gen X remains largely untapped by brands. With a global spending power worth $2.33tn, catering to this consumer group is opportune.

Cutting to the point, the problem is that retail fails to
represent Gen X. Amber Graafland, Fashion & Beauty Director at The Daily Mirror tells Stylus:

‘You walk into most high-street stores and the first thing you see is a picture of a young model staring at you wearing a ridiculously ‘trendy’ outfit. And there’s probably some very loud music blaring at you. It’s not exactly a shopping environment that entices grown women in. So yes, the dress of your dreams may well be hanging, as you turn right, at the back of H&M, but are you prepared to venture in and hunt for it?’

Graafland is not alone. 70% of women in this consumer group disclose that they feel ignored by the high street. In a time where the high street is going under extreme reinvention, retail experiences should address the representation of a consumer group that remains largely untapped.

 

retail experiences should address the representation of a consumer group that remains largely untapped.

‘Experiences are the new storefront’ is a phrase that has become
commonplace in retail. Cafes, events, workshops, wellness programmes arrived in stores in abundance. These tactics have been crucial to shaping the modern retail landscape. Some shops even went as far to remove product from the store entirely. We just have to cast back to Nordstorm’s clothing store with no clothes that opened last year as an example.

Whilst we chase how to create new and exciting experiences, brands and retailers should also pay close attention to a word that perhaps hasn’t been getting enough attention. Representation.

The wellness industry boomed. Brands jumped on board and in
came the in store workouts. Usually influencer-driven, an influx of twenty-something year olds all gather in a store space to sweat to a beat. A lucrative opportunity for brands indeed. Yet, 57% of Gen X seek to keep fit. According to Inkling, 61% feel a pressure to keep fit. With these stats, the representation of Gen X in retail remains under-represented.

This under-representation extends beyond the world of wellness and into the fashion industry. A mere 1.9% of this consumer group featured in SS/18 collections earlier this year.

Yet, the opportunity is communicate with this group is there. Where stores are failing to do so, online platforms are stepping in. ‘The Fine Line’ for instance, is an online platform where Gen X women come together to discuss fashion, wellbeing and fitness. Expressing this consumer groups’ interest in wellness, the site features Fitness Trainers Over 40 with Kickass Instagrams.

Whilst brands target millennials by chasing the Instagram moment, it is important to recognise that 71% of this group are social media savvy and nearly 30% of Gen X are instagrammers.

Clearly, Gen X is an untapped consumer group that is underrepresented in retail. Whilst brands chase the millennial dollar, designing with Gen X in mind remains opportune.

Key Takeaways

Consider representation. Acknowledge Gen X. How can your brand learn from online platforms to create a meaningful store experience that resonates with this group?

How your store experience can cater to this consumer group through influencers, fashion, wellness and social media?

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