MRO Magazine

A.T. Kearney and NPD Study Points Retailers toward New Ways to Connect with Different Customer Segments

May 23, 2016
By PRN NewsWire

CHICAGO, May 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — With the recent downturn in performance by department stores and slow growth in total U.S. apparel sales, retailers and apparel brands are searching for innovative strategies to connect with consumers. While many retailers are targeting Millennials to drive growth, a new study from A.T. Kearney and The NPD Group highlights areas of opportunity across all generations and uncovers multiple purchase drivers within each generation.

“Everyone’s talking about Millennials now, but there’s real risk in ignoring other generations who still wield tremendous purchasing power,” explains NPD Chief Industry Analyst Marshal Cohen. “And, when it comes to Millennials, the other thing many retailers fail to understand is that not all Millennials are created equal. Depending on lifestyle and life stage, Millennials could be more–or less–likely to buy your brand.”

According to the study, “Age Isn’t Everything,” Millennials do surpass other generations in sheer volume of items purchased in key apparel categories.(1) Compared to Boomers or Gen X, Millennials are 1.5 to 2.4 times more likely to have purchased three or more items in a category during the past six months. However, Millennials represent only 38 percent of total apparel spend in the United States, indicating that other generations should not be ignored.

Furthermore, the study illustrates that age alone does not drive purchasing. According to the study, the following factors drive greater purchasing for apparel in every generation:

— Kids: Parents of all generations purchase more jeans and activewear compared to those without kids. — Active lifestyles: Consumers who are physically active purchase more–even in categories outside of activewear — Fashion-forward attitudes: They shop more for all brands, not just high fashion

Helen Rhim, A.T. Kearney principal and co-author of the study commented, “It is interesting to note that life-stage differences in purchasing behaviors appear to be most significant within the ranks of the Millennials. Married Millennials purchase more than their single peers, and Millennials with children are far more likely to be heavy purchasers of comfortable clothes (jeans and activewear) rather than dresses and bras.

Hana Ben-Shabat, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study, stated, “Age is only one piece of the puzzle. By targeting Millennials as a cohort, retailers are missing the real drivers of purchasing. It’s important to target each segment and adjust your value proposition accordingly.”

For a copy of the report, please go to:

About the Study

“Age Isn’t Everything” is based on survey responses from 2,355 men and women in the United States who provided information on purchasing across four categories: jeans, activewear, dresses, and bras. Heavy purchasers were defined as those who purchased three or more items in the same category.

(1 )Key categories tracked by the study include jeans, activewear, dresses, and bras.

About A.T. Kearney

A.T. Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors to the world’s foremost organizations. A.T. Kearney is a partner-owned firm, committed to helping clients achieve immediate impact and growing advantage on their most mission-critical issues. For more information, visit

About The NPD Group

The NPD Group provides market information and business solutions that drive better decision-making and better results. The world’s leading brands rely on us to help them get the right products in the right places for the right people. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, diamonds, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, technology, toys, video games, and watches/jewelry. For more information, visit and Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

Contact:Jim Brown A.T. 312-223-6220

Janine Marshall The NPD Group, 516-625-2356

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Photo: Kearney

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