LIM College Study Reveals Millennials Aren't Loyal to Fashion Brands

Millennials are not loyal to fashion brands. In fact, 45 percent of those surveyed say nothing can be done to retain them. They expect to be moving on.

This is according to the results of a new survey, Shopping Trends Among 18-25 Year-Olds, conducted by LIM College professors Robert Conrad and Kenneth M. Kambara, Ph.D.

LIM College is located in midtown Manhattan and focused exclusively on the study of business and fashion. The study surveyed 275 LIM College students enrolled in associate through master's-level fashion business programs and was conducted from March 2-9, 2015.

In announcing the release of Shopping Trends Among 18-25 Year-Olds, Professor Conrad, who, along with Dr. Kambara, teaches in LIM College's Marketing, Management & Finance Department said, "As college professors, we've continuously observed how our students embrace and abandon fashion trends. Since the Millennial generation is the predictor for much of all consumer purchasing behaviors, we decided to ask them about their attitudes toward and perceptions of fashion brands, how they think the business of fashion is executing on several key dimensions, and areas they believe need improvement."

"Retailers have become consumed with the customer experience from a supply chain perspective. There is very little happening to drive impulse purchases. There is virtually no new product innovation, with what little innovation there is coming from tech products or from the mode of delivery of fashion content. It's up to brand managers and retailers need to fuel desire," Dr. Kambara explained. "Interestingly, a brand not being seen as 'cool' wasn't a major factor in abandonment."

Respondents were asked to evaluate the applicability of statements regarding why they may have abandoned what had been their brand of choice in 2013. The top responses were:
  • Availability of desirable new alternatives (64 percent)
  • The brand no longer fit their identity (66 percent)
  • A simple desire/need to change brands (66 percent)
  • The brand was no longer unique (64 percent)
When asked what their current favorite could do to remain the student's brand of choice, the top responses among the 55 percent indicating a willingness to stick with a brand were:
  • Develop innovative new products and services (80 percent)
  • Improve design/style to reflect uniqueness (74 percent)
  • Improve product quality (67 percent)
  • Engage in causes, philanthropy, or endeavors that reflect my beliefs/values (63 percent)
  • Limit distribution to maintain the brand's exclusivity (54 percent)
"What is very interesting, and provides some new possibilities, is the mix of specialty brands in traditional department stores and national brands within select specialty stores. Bonobos, Topshop and Madewell are in Nordstrom. J. Crew has its curated brands, such as Nike and Barbour, and Urban Outfitters is devoting more space to other brands. The upshot is — since it is very hard to design, develop and distribute unique product 365 days a year — why not partner with others who are doing it well?" noted Professor Conrad.
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