In a digital age when almost anything and everything we want to purchase is available at our fingertips and companies like Amazon allow you to purchase from around the world with ease, why is it that 40 percent of Millennials prefer to buy local? With the millennial generation making up one-quarter of the U.S. population, that’s 83 million individuals, this is a question that companies should be asking themselves if they want to attain the millennial customer.
According to Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey, almost nine in ten Millennials (87 percent) believe that the success of a business should be measured in terms of more than just its financial performance. Seventy-three percent said that business must have a positive social impact on society. Buying local gives this conscious generation a transparent look into who they are purchasing from and what the brand stands for.
To take it one step further, almost fifty-percent of millennials also stated they were willing to pay more to support small businesses, according to a survey AT&T conducted where they polled 5,000 respondents between the ages of 16 - 34. It seems this generation is willing to put their money where their mouth is, and we see the results of it in the news everyday with big name retailers shutting their doors and small businesses taking off on sites like Etsy. The rise in popularity of shows like Shark Tank are just another indicator of the interest in small mom and pop shops.
Brands that are paying attention to this generation and these statistics are flourishing. Take American Made Supply Co for example, a fast-growing direct-to-consumer retailer that’s 100% made in America. Their transparency in the sourcing and design process is one of the many reasons that they’ve been able to gain trust and loyalty among the millennial customer.
The founder, J. Winklepleck, shares his personal story and how he and co-founder Jordan Hunnell ordered every T-shirt and piece of casual wear they could find over the course of two years, “We examined every detail, we measured every inch and tore them apart. All in the effort to identify the perfect style, materials, stitching, and construction” says Winklepleck.
The motivating factor behind their decision to make their apparel in the U.S. is simply the pride they take in their work. Winklepleck shared his philosophy “We have not cut any corners when it comes to the quality of our fabric. We are using the best cottons that we know of, and are willing to sacrifice profit margin to keep it in a price range that people are able to afford and feel good about.” This is exactly the viewpoint and transparency that attracts the millennial customer to local designers.
Alongside the desire to support local companies, millennials also don’t tend to follow fashion fads, instead they revel in their own individuality. Which is why Runway Passport, an online destination to shop and discover local emerging designers from around the world, is another company attracting the millennial market. Giving customers the ability to shop unique designs, its appeal includes buying directly from the designers and not from a corporation. The designers represent the local flavor of their own city and country and are hidden style gems that you wouldn’t easily come across, unless you were to travel to their city.
For a generation that has grown up sharing their unique experiences on social media, the more exclusive an experience can be, even down to how and where they shop, the more drawn they are to it.