Millennials do online research before they commit to making a purchase.


Astrophysicists may have encountered fewer obstacles in landing man on the moon compared to challenges retailers face to draw and maintain Millennial consumers.

That’s a bit dramatic. But it’s this demographics’ mobile fluency, fleeting brand loyalty and shifting shopping preferences that is partly why the retail market is being upended. Brands and retailers are reacting with hefty investments into e-commerce, store closures, new strategic positioning and in several cases, bankruptcy as well.

To make issues (and marketers’ jobs) even more complex, Millennial preferences vary extensively — to a degree. With that in mind, WWD interviewed U.S., female Millennials from a wide range of age, location and profession to get to cull insights into their spending habits and shopping behavior.

Alexis Freytiz, 26, Philadelphia, Pa.

Office manager, self-employed life and wellness coach

Morning Preparation: The two products I use are Herbalife Skin Soothing Aloe cleanser and Herbalife Skin Replenishing Night Cream. They’re both Paraben- and sulfate-free and dermatologist tested.

Breakfast: Every morning I have a shake that contains 21 essential vitamins and 17 grams of protein. Along with my shake I have a tea, which I call “turn up tea” or “treadmill in a glass.” The tea is supposed to boost metabolism.

Commute: I use public transportation for my daily commute. I wake up each morning at 6 a.m., do push-ups, take a shower, get dressed and catch the first bus by 7:20 a.m. Then my company shuttle takes me to my office where I currently work as an office manager.

I also work a full-time job as a wellness coach. I can work from almost anywhere as long as I have an Internet connection.

At Work: In the office, my main source of communication is through e-mail or face-to-face. In my role as a wellness coach, I use my cell phone and social media — Instagram and Facebook mostly to reach out to potential clients and keep in touch with clients around the world. I use my phone to keep in touch with my family, friends and clients.

I am a wellness coach 24/7 so I’m always on social media — I pretty much stick to Instagram and Facebook.

Lunch: I do my meal prep for the week on Sunday. I pair protein with veggies. At times I include a side salad, which is very simple. I purchase these foods from ShopRite [local grocery].

Shopping: My two current favorite online stores are missguided.com and hellomollyfashion.com. Otherwise I shop at H&M, Zara, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21 and Uniqlo. I have plenty of clothes to choose from, but for some reason I need new outfits for everything.

Evening Routine: I don’t track my sleep, but I set an alarm every morning for 6 a.m. — my alarms are set through my iPhone or at times my Alexa. Prior to going to sleep I like to read a chapter of a book.

I’m working on breaking my habit of scrolling through social media before bed. I am so used to scrolling through Instagram and Facebook during the day that I find myself doing it at night.

Ivy Croteau, 23, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Actor, writer, marketing assistant

Morning Preparation: I used to be all about Clinique, but [in] the past few years I’ve started using Om Aroma products from Savor Beauty for my skin-care routine. I use their Pearl Cleansing Cream, Neroli Toning Mist, Caviar Eye Cream and a mix of their essential oils. They’re all organic, produced in the Catskills and they turn your skin into dewy perfection. I also use Crest Whitening products to counteract my coffee addiction, purchased at CVS or Duane Reade.

Commute: I work from home most days and I’m lucky enough to have a car to commute to New Jersey when my boss needs me face-to-face, but most days I’m on that telecommute grind.

Workday: For social media I’m always on Instagram and sometimes Snapchat or Facebook. My job uses a platform called Podio, but I hate it and use it only when necessary.

I’m a proud digital subscriber of The New York Times, though I get most of news through NPR’s app and web site. I also read Refinery 29, Chalkboard Mag and The Every Girl for my feminine indulgences. Depop is my new obsession, it’s the better, hipster version of Poshmark.

Lunch: I buy groceries — mostly vegetables — at one of the natural food stores near my apartment. I always have grilled/baked chicken on hand for a quick salad. I also Seamless Thai food or sushi once a week.

Wellness: When I work out, I go to Equinox and I wear Nike or Lululemon. When I run out of nice gym clothes it’s the old dancewear and cut-up, high school sports T-shirts.

I’m a runner, so I’ll go wherever strikes my fancy. I practice at Daya Yoga Studio, they have great classes in the evenings and it’s walking distance from my apartment. I also pop into 305 fitness for an ass-kicking, mood-boosting dance cardio session occasionally, especially if I know I’m going to party.

I journal and meditate pretty much every day — usually first thing in the morning after I put coffee on. I carve out 10 to 20 minutes. I try to center my day between a mindful morning and a calm evening as often as possible. I like to come back to this routine that’s about taking care of myself.

Dinner/Entertainment: I live with my best friends, so we almost always eat together. We cook dinner at least three or four times a week, one night we try a new restaurant, and two nights we’re lazy and order. Generally when I’m eating, I read a book or chat with my roommates — I try not to be on technology.

Errands: I run errands sporadically. Working from home, I’ll usually hit a point when I want to get out of the house, so I’ll go grab a coffee and pick up whatever I need. Anything more specific or special I save for the weekends when my roommates and [I] make a Target or Ikea run.

Shopping: Last year, I was strapped for cash and it forced me to overhaul how I shop. I nearly stopped shopping completely, but now that I’ve got some decent cash flow I shop selectively. During my shopping reform, I edited, organized, and refamiliarized myself with the clothes I already have.

I read “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” recently, it inspired me to stop frequenting stores like Forever 21, H&M and Zara. I became more mindful about reasons I buy clothes and review my finances when I need the occasional, more expensive, better-quality purchase over the I-just-had-a-bad-day-and-I-have-a-Tinder-date-tonight sale grab.

Some sustainable brands I love are Everlane and Veja. Otherwise I tend to go vintage. There’s a Beacon’s Closet a few blocks from my house and I love being able to sell my clothes that I don’t wear anymore for store credit and essentially update my wardrobe for free. It’s like a clothes library — a Rachel Comey dress I found two months ago still makes me smile. I can’t say that what I’ve bought at Forever 21.

Evening Routine: Before bed I watch Netflix sometimes, but I try to get off technology the hour before I go to bed. I make tea and read a book most nights.

I’ve been trying to break the habit of checking my phone before bed, which is hard because I usually set my alarm right before I settle in. I’ll check Instagram and Tinder, mostly, or MindBody to see if there’s a morning yoga class.

Carly Stojsic, 38, Toronto

Trend/insights director

Morning Preparation: I just went on [a] getaway to Turks and Caicos and loaded up on amenities. When I exhaust my rations, I’ll revert back to Aveda’s Beautifying Crème Cleansing Oil that I purchase online. I’ll always use high-end conditioners from swag bags, but I don’t usually invest in conditioner. I use good drugstore ones and mix in deep conditioning treatments. I use L’Oréal Ever Sleek keratin conditioner and L’Oréal Extraordinary Oil, both purchased at Rexall, which is like Canada’s CVS. At night I use Clinique’s “Take The Day Off” cleansing balm (purchased at Sephora) and Cetaphil (purchased at Costco).

Commute: Subway or walk. Toronto subways are fairly clean and civilized.

Work: For work, I use Facebook, Instagram Messenger and Whatsapp for international contacts. I e-mail to go over any documents or projects.

To keep up on news, I have TheSkimm sent to me first thing, huffintonpost.ca, WWD, theglobeandmail.com, thecut.com, boredpanda.com, vice.com, WGSN. I access most of the news sources on my iPhone via their apps and then go to my desktop to read WWD, WGSN, The Cut and Huffington Post for reading lengthy articles.

Lunch: If I’m making a salad, my go-to is simple. There are lots of farms outside of the city so I go to farmer’s markets to purchase my vegetables over grocers. If I order lunch online I use Feast on my desktop — they’re great at catering restaurant-quality for work and lunch meetings.

Wellness: I belong to a squash club downtown — Adelaide Club — and wear mostly Lululemon bottoms and Adidas tops and sports bras. I check in through their member app for massages and classes. I buy most of my workout gear in-store at Marshall’s or TJX Canada. I go to Sporting Life stores for shoes.

Dinner/Entertainment: I’m always trying new spots. SoHo House for late afternoon meetings. I usually text or direct message to hammer out event invites.

I haven’t cooked dinners for myself in a while and tend to graze if I’m not eating out. I’m considering signing up with www.eattrainlive.ca for meal prep and delivery service to get ready for TIFF and upcoming fashion weeks in Toronto. If I’m eating at home, I watch Netflix from my kitchen island.

Shopping: I typically go to The Bay, The Room, or Saks for a closet refresh when everything’s on sale. There are a bunch of great local shops that I like to save to get special pieces; there are bunches with great retail and cool staff vibes. I also keep an ear out for designer sample sales to support Canadian designers and friend’s businesses.

Evening/Sleep preparation: I use headspace.com that helps with my overall resting behaviors and wellness tracking. I try to read now before bed — actual books — and have some relief from screens and sounds. If I’m watching T.V. I’m streaming it from my iPad and projecting it onto my living room wall.

Streaming: I like to have my playlists with me at all times. I use Spotify on my iPhone for walking around, errands, working out and commuting. I’ll plug it in at home with my new Echo or Alexa to play indoors while I’m working — I’m just starting to play with it and I’m enjoying having a smarter living space.

Naomi Thomas, 29, Los Angeles

Project manager

Morning Preparation: I use Dove body wash, Neutrogena face wash and Sebastian conditioner — all purchased at Rite-Aid near my house. I purchase Devines shampoo at Vidal Sassoon after hair appointments.

Commute: I drive and sometimes carpool to downtown L.A.

Social Media: I use Slack, iMessage and Gmail for work. I check Instagram on my phone daily and occasionally look at Facebook to see updates from family. My niece (5) and nephew (7) have Facebook accounts managed by my sister that I love browsing. Obviously, they don’t see the account and only family can view it.

I used to work in the social media field, but I’m happy to have moved on. Social media is an incredibly powerful tool for brands so I engage enough in the key platforms to maintain a relevant knowledge and understanding of how best to utilize. I work at an agency — that exposure alone provides discovery and important learnings. However on a personal level, I find it too time-consuming to maintain a profile on so many platforms.

The most positive thing that comes out of Facebook is keeping closer to family and friends all over the world. My family and I live in five countries — and time zones — across four continents. Social media is the easiest and fastest way to stay in touch.

Lunch: I buy groceries from Trader Joe’s and make my lunch. I used to eat at Whole Foods every day but it’s not cost-effective.

Wellness: I have a gym and pool where I live. Lately I’ve been signing up [for] triathlons, ocean swim races and marathons to keep fit. In California there are so many ways to exercise outside, it seems like a waste of money to join a gym. I wear a Garmin when I’m marathon training.

Errands/Chores: I swing by in my car on my way to or from work. I grocery shop at Trader Joe’s, always. I get my toiletries or prescriptions at Rite-Aid that’s a bike ride or stop on way home. For bike maintenance, I go to a great local spot called Manny’s Bicycle Shop. Christmas gifts, I order online in early November (yes, I’m one of those people).

Shopping: I rarely shop for clothing. For sweaters or plain T-shirts, I bike to Alternative Apparel on Abbot Kinney because they have the softest fabrics in great neutral colors. For makeup, I drive to Sephora because I can easily test the feel and smell of products. For something special, I’d look on Net-a-porter.com or browse in the BNKR opposite my office in DTLA. (I’m all about convenience!)

Dinner: Dinner is usually something quick and delicious. I eat dinner on the couch or in the kitchen. Usually I’m still handling work e-mails on my phone or answering someone from work on Slack, but I try to have a moment to enjoy the food. If I’m having a lazy evening, I put something on Netflix on the TV. We don’t have cable.

Evening Routine: Sometimes I’ll watch Instagram Stories at the end of the day or scroll my feed before sleep, but I try to avoid it. My new habit is to look through cookbooks for easy recipes.

Other: I like to do everything as fast as possible. Maybe I’m impatient or maybe I want to improve efficiency, anything I do is in fast-forward. I eat whatever provides sufficient, efficient nutrients and is cost-efficient. I hate clutter, being around too much stuff stresses me out. I still find myself curious about ways to own less so that I have time to do more.

Brittany Williams, 31, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.

Business accounting for commercial construction company

Marital Status: Married with children: twins ages 8; a daughter, age 2, and currently 8 months pregnant.

Commute: I work from home after I take the kids to school and work out — I mostly wear Lululemon to work out and use Map My Run to track my progress.

Work Day: I mostly use e-mail and our phone to touch base with clients and colleagues. I primarily use Gmail for our e-mail platform.

Lunch: I usually grab a wrap from Publix [grocery store] and shop there daily. During the school year, the kids eat the provided school lunch.

Errands: I’m super busy with the kiddos, so I use Amazon Prime a lot to refill the basics. Otherwise I’ll drive to the grocery store — I prefer to visit the bank in-person.

After-School Activities: We have an app that notifies us for rain cancellations and any practice updates — it’s amazing!

Kid Social Media: We don’t want our kids to be on social media or have their own accounts.

After Dinner: We like to spend family time watching a movie on TV or just hanging out all together and then it’s bedtime for the kids.

Sheila Sitaram, 24, New York, N.Y.

Marketing research associate

Morning Preparation: I use Shea Moisture soap and generic drugstore body wash, all from CVS. I eat breakfast at work, usually a coffee, granola bar or banana.

Commute: I take the subway to work.

Workday: For work I e-mail, Slack and talk face-to-face; my friends and I e-mail, Facebook, Instagram, phone calls, text and talk in-person.

I usually read Bloomberg (Pursuits and Gadfly), The Fashion Law, Retail Dive, The Robin Report, WSJ, Financial Times, The Guardian, New York Times, Tech Crunch, BuzzFeed, Glossy, Racked, any news gleaned from the news app on my iPhone, The Economist, The New Yorker, LinkedIn, eBay.

I read all of the above on my work computer or on my phone, through the news app or through the web browser on my phone; I also get links to other news/articles/etc. through the Facebook app or LinkedIn.

Lunch: I usually make lunch with groceries from my CSA, Trader Joe’s, or Key Foods. I don’t buy lunch that often.

Wellness: I do at-home Pilates — I wear old t-shirts from high school and leggings that are unbranded or too old to have a tag still attached.

Errands: Errands are done at the bodega or the local hardware store or via Target or Amazon online.

Shopping: I don’t shop much these days; if I do it is for one-of-a-kind vintage items. I am currently spending more time getting rid of items I don’t need. I’m also spending more money on repairing the items I already have.

Evening: I go over what I need to do the next morning, read more news, catch up with e-mails, set my alarm. I don’t really watch TV Sometimes I’ll scroll social media — Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn mostly on my phone.

Michelle C., 26, Metuchen, N.J.

Middle school math teacher

Morning Preparation: My shampoo and conditioner is OGX coconut miracle oil and I use Dial body wash that I get at my local supermarket: Stop & Shop. Every morning I make rye toast with an organic fried egg and Frank’s hot buffalo sauce. I take a women’s multivitamin and Biotin. Green Mountain hazelnut coffee is made in the Keurig and taken on the go!

Commute: I drive 15 minutes to work in my 2009 Honda Civic.

Workday: At work we mainly e-mail, we also use Google Classroom and Google Drive to communicate with each other and our students.

I mostly go to my schools’ e-mail and attendance web sites, Pinterest, Google, Facebook, The Knot.

Lunch: I always bring a lunch. I meal-prep five meals on Sunday so I have lunch for the week with items bought at Stop & Shop.

Errands: Saturdays are for errands: Grocery shopping for the week and any shopping I need to do for school or weekend events (Target usually gets most of that done!)

Shopping: I try to only shop when I need to. My go-to stores are Express, Victoria’s Secret, Macy’s and Forever 21. They give great coupons and their stuff isn’t too expensive.

Dinner: For dinner my fiancé and I usually Google recipes — we get those items for the week. I eat at the table with my fiancé. We usually don’t have phones and the TV might be on in the background — Comcast is our TV provider.

Evening/Sleep Preparation: We watch TV in the living room before bed. Usually a movie or some “Friends” reruns until we fall asleep. I’ll scroll Instagram (way too much) and Snapchat.

More From WWD:

For Millennials, Sharing is Caring

Memorable Marketing: Key Strategies to Draw Consumers

Gen Z is Ready to Shop – On Their Terms

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus