Metal shop fittings and retail display equipment
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Generation Game

How should retailers play the generation game?

As creators of eye-catching and intelligently engineered display solutions for retailers, retail designers and shopfitters we are constantly thinking about what’s going on in the retail sector.  So here’s a question for you – if you had a retail business would you focus on attracting millennials, or the grey pound?

Time is on the side of the young ones

It’s a question that was recently posed by the Retail Think Tank in one of their white papers.  Here is our symopsis of their paper.

The most obvious answer is the Millennials, simply because they are going to be around, and shopping, for a lot longer than their older counterparts.  That’s why the likes of River Island and H&M are continually evolving their offering to stay relevant to the youngest cohort – it’s the smart way to create long term sustainable success.

But don’t write off the older generations

However, the opposite answer also has much to recommend it.  The youngsters are struggling financially with student debts, unaffordable house prices, low wages and high rents.  The baby boomers not only have more years behind them but have also accumulated more wealth.  Many have substantial pensions, savings and equity in their homes, as well as income from a job or business – large numbers are continuing to work past retirement age.

So, the millennials may be the future, but for the time being, and quite a few years to come, the spending power is with the greys.  What’s more, the sheer weight of numbers is on the side of oldies.  There are more people aged 65+ in the UK than there are16-24 year olds, so their total spend is much greater.  In clothing the former spend £6.7bn against £6.1bn for the latter.  This situation will be with us for a while – 27% of the UK population will be over 65 by 2030 so retailers ignore this group at their peril!

A balancing act

In other words the best advice seems to revolve around finding some way of appealing to both sectors simultaneously.  In some ways this is not as awkward as it sounds as the gap between the two is closing and the distinctions blurring.  In the current environment factors such as age, class, income and even gender are less indicative of behaviours and spending patterns than they have ever been.  The old are trying to be young, the ‘poor’ aspire to designer lifestyles, the same consumers regularly shop at both Waitrose and Aldi, and many older consumers have become very digitally savvy and at home on social media.

Stay age agnostic

A number of key industry observers have commented that today’s consumers are tired of being put in boxes.  With this in mind a number of big brands are making strenuous efforts to market themselves in ways that are age neutral and inclusive.  Among these Apple, Ford and Philips are leading the way but a very current and visible example of this trend is the Yum Yum Yum Food Dancing campaign recently launched by Sainsbury’s.  Although undeniably youthful and energetic, with a Hip Hop sound track, the retailer is at pains to feature a very diverse range of cooks from every social class, ethnic background and age group.

Achieving this kind of balance in a retail environment is far from easy – there are so many factors to take into consideration and everything is changing so rapidly. Some things remain constant however.  Shoppers need to be able to find what they are looking for, the merchandise has to be displayed attractively and the fittings need to be robust and hard wearing.  If you’d like to discuss the best way of achieving this within your own particular stores then we have a wealth of experience and advice we can share with you – just give us a call.

Dymond Shop Fittings

Dymond Engineering and Metal Products Ltd
Combrew Lane
Devon EX31 2ND

Tel: 01271 372662
Fax: 01271 322077

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"For more than 20 years Dymond have supplied us with innovative solutions at competitive prices, often within tight time scales."
Steve Rumsey, Railston Design

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