In addition to being hyper connected and digitally driven, Millennials are focused on personal experiences. And for many, those experiences happen away from home. Notably, Millennials are very interested in travel. In fact, they travel more than any other generation, including Baby Boomers.
In a recent survey of global Millennial travelers, more than 50% said they take two “long haul” trips (involving flights of 6 hours or more) each year, and a third said they take four long haul trips per year. With this much travel frequency, Millennials now account for as much as 50% of the shoppers in the total travel retail market.
As a generation that wants to be in control of what it experiences, Millennials are strongly driven by search—a quest for just the right experience that fits their mood, interest and personality. When it comes to travel, Millennials take on the planning themselves and plan a well-thought out schedule that smartly addresses the cost of their overall trip. With this attention to planning and experiences in mind, Millennials often seek out low-cost flights and peer-to-peer accommodation sharing options instead of booking a hotel. By taking a budgeted approach to their travel and accommodations, Millennial travelers typically free up dollars that they can use on indulgences throughout their trips, including impulse buys and personal treats.
This disposition to indulgence presents an opportunity for travel retail outlets that sell luxury goods. In fact, Nielsen’s recent survey of global Millennial travelers found that more than 63% have purchased a premium or luxury item in the watch, jewelry, clothing, bag, accessory or spirit category in the past year. Additionally, another 4% said they plan make a premium or luxury purchase soon. And when asked about why they visit shopping areas after passing through the security of an airport, buying themselves a treat is cited almost one-third of the time.
But Millennials aren’t just shopping as they head home from their trips. On many occasions, they’re just as eager make purchases on their way out of town in addition to when they’re headed home.
Millennials don’t simply represent another generation of travelers. Their unique preferences make them different from their older counterparts. At the same time, this uniqueness means that the travel industry will need to adjust in order to meet their specific needs and desires—particularly when it comes to retail.
For more insight, download our Young and Ready to Travel (and Shop) report.