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The Key To Reaching Millennial Shoppers? Target The ‘Bank Of Mom And Dad’
For the past few years, many bedding retailers and marketers have been scratching their heads trying to figure out how to connect with the elusive millennial consumer. Due to an array of diverse factors, these young people have proven to be a tricky consumer group—especially when it comes to buying big-ticket furniture items such as mattresses. While some retailers have tried to appeal to millennials by prioritizing promotionally-priced options, other stores have refocused their efforts back onto the older generation. Recognizing that many young people still rely on their parents for financial support, West Elm effectively identified their target customer as the “bank of mom and dad.” Rather than trying to accommodate the measly budget of today’s young people, retailers may find greater success by offering millennials the styles they are looking for—at price points their parents can help subsidize.
In the wake of the Great Recession, many millennials are still faced with a number of financial burdens. Today’s young people are over two times more likely than the average American to be burdened with student loans, with the median income ranging from only $24,973 to $47,854. Additionally, they are putting off marriage and children until later in life. Coupled with a growing “gig economy,” millennials are move around more than any other generation—with a greater number of them opting to live with their parents much later than they have in the past. As a whole, this has had a great effect on the way millennials choose to spend their money. Because they are more likely to move around, young consumers often gravitate towards cheaper products simply because they can be easily transported or replaced. Young people are also less likely to invest in full furniture sets, which tend to be seen as synonymous with “settling down.” When it comes to making a big-ticket purchase, many millennials still turn to their parents for help. For bedding retailers, this opens up new opportunities for marketing and selling their products. While lowering prices may be one way to appeal to younger shoppers, it’s not the only solution. By taking the time to truly understand how millennials live—and, more importantly, where their money comes from—retailers can more effectively engage with their customers and provide more meaningful solutions.
Amazon Exceeds Sales Expectations
Amazon once again outperformed analysts’ estimates in the first quarter of this year, reporting higher than expected numbers for both revenue and profit. Thanks to sustained online retail growth and a burgeoning cloud storage business, the e-commerce giant’s total net sales rose 22.6% in Q1, bringing its net income up to $724 million. In North America alone, the company’s net sales increased by 23.5% to hit $20.99 billion last quarter. This is the eighth straight quarter that Amazon has seen a net profit. In addition to underscoring the company’s continued dominance over the retail industry, the steady increase in sales has allowed for new kinds of growth as well. As business continues to boom, Amazon recently announced plans to build new warehouses and create more than 130,000 jobs by next year—a move that it hopes will speed up deliveries. For traditional retailers, these improved efficiencies may create greater challenges down the line.
Sleep Goes Mainstream
As the health and wellness benefits of sleep are better understood and thus better publicized, the very concept of sleep has become a more tangible part of our culture. This increase in visibility has opened the floodgates of potential marketing with gadgets and gizmos abounding, and created a scientific buzz that encourages researchers to direct more brain power to better understanding sleep: why do we need it and how to we get the best we can? Entire websites are devoted to how to find the right ingredients for the perfect slumber and there is no lack of articles exploring all of the many facets of sleep. Sleep has become – in a word – cool.
As a country, the US has a rather dismal sleep track record. A 2014 National Sleep Foundation study found that 35 percent of Americans characterize their sleep as poor or only fair, while 67 percent of those people disclose having poor or only fair health. The American Sleep Association reports that 50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder with 35.3 adults reporting less than 7 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. And the CDC has declared the nation’s sleep deprivation a public health problem. No wonder the mainstream is ripe for a sleep revolution.
Perhaps the most well known face of this sleep revolution is Arianna Huffington, author of the New York Times bestselling book– so aptly named – The Sleep Revolution. Huffington has used her renown of being a high-powered, successful businesswoman who has prioritized sleep to boost the issue of sleep deprivation into the popular sphere. Not stopping there, the entrepreneurial sleep guru went on to found Thrive Global, an organization that educates corporations and individuals about how burnout greatly affects performance and health, supporting the idea that people are at their best when they are thriving, not just surviving.
With the public’s eyes now open to the advantages of good sleep – and the recognition that most of us are not getting it, the “sleep space” is primed for an influx of innovative products. Inventor-entrepreneurs are cranking out sleep aids by the boatload. From special light glasses that aim to reset your body clock to a sound wave-creating headband that induces sleep, from soporific podcasts to sleep fairs and deep rest classes, consumers are flocking to anything that might promise some quality shuteye, and they are readily opening their wallets.
Not to be outdone, mattress manufacturers are pulling out all the stops, touting the many restorative properties of their products. Luxury priced mattresses are quietly becoming the new Italian sports car. Within affluent circles of those who can afford to invest in the upper tiers of health-benefitting products such as pricey gym memberships and the highest quality, locally-sourced organic food, purchasing a top-of-the-line, artisan-crafted mattress priced in the neighborhood of six-figures is fast gaining traction as a status symbol.
Despite the plethora of sleep devices on the market, you don’t necessarily need technology to claim a slice of the good sleep-sleep pie. Experts advise not to forget the basics, with simpler sometimes being better. A cool, dark room and a comfortable, supportive mattress are the foundation for a restful night. Add a warm bath, a comforting cup of herbal tea and maybe a weighted blanket if you’re looking to take it to the next level. That being said, if you’re feeling adventurous (and have a bit of cash to spend), the options are nearly endless – and may even bump up your social status.
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