While older segments recognize that holiday sales ruses are how the game is played at this time of year, Millennials perceive retailers as actively trying to deceive them and encourage overspending.
That's according to a new study, Millennials and Holiday Retail Tactics, from MindSwarms, a digital market research startup. MindSwarms pays its survey respondents $50 to answer seven questions via a webcam.
The study, based on a nationwide U.S. sample, found that Millennials under the age of 30 expressed concern over three retail practices they see as common:
Among the comments:
Joshua, 27: "Retailers do drop their prices a little bit ... but they make sure parents aren't disappointing their kids by guilt-tripping them to buy more."
Will, 19: "They advertise something really good ... but what they won't tell you is that there's a limited number of TVs and you end up not getting one ... but at that point, you are already manipulated into the store and might be pressured into buying something else you weren't actually looking for."
Ayasia, 20: "Basically the way that retailers manipulate shoppers is deceitful ... they will list a sale price as $125 and originally it was $125 all along!"
Paradee, 18: "Stores like Walmart and Target put a bunch of signs out that have 50 percent off and use discounts to get people's attention into buying things ... even when you're not planning on buying."
Melissa, 23: "The holiday sales are them really just clearing out their stock."
By contrast, shoppers over thirty acknowledge these holiday retail practices, but pride themselves on their self-control and ability to use retailer games to their own benefit.
MindSwarms concluded that an opportunity exists to connect in a more relevant manner to a new generation of shopper "that seems more suspicious of tried-and-true holiday retail tactics."
While Millennials are "often described as on a longer timetable to adulthood," their attitudes towards shopping have been shaped by more transparent digital pricing experiences, possibly leading to the resentment over traditional sales tactics.
"Whether these feelings will change as Millennials age remains to be seen," said Ryan Brill, senior project manager at MindSwarms, in a statement. "For the moment retailers should be conscious of how they come across during the holiday season."
To what degree will tried-and-true holiday retail tactics have to change to become more relevant to the Millennial generation?