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Millennials Are Driving Changes In Retail: Brands and retailers must accelerate innovation in-store

Millennials are driving changes in shopper attitudes globally, as demonstrated by a brand-new global consumer report from the global alliance of retail experts Ebeltoft Group. The report shows that consumers, and especially Millennials, are ready to interact digitally in-store, emphasizing their cross-channel behavior. 70% of Millennial consumers are interested in using virtual reality or digital visualization services in-store, and this applies to 62% of Generation X consumers, and 52% of Baby Boomers and Seniors. 62% of Millennials also indicate an interest in interactive mirrors in fitting rooms, where they can call for assistance or ask for different sizes via a smart mirror, according to the report.

“Today’s consumers are highly digitally driven. And especially Millennials are constantly connected, which only reinforces their need to interact digitally in-store. Digital services instore help them in the same way that their smartphones are constantly helping them with everyday chores, so giving consumers the opportunity to effortlessly move across digital and physical spheres will help retailers create this smooth omnichannel experience that consumers expect”, says Dorte Wimmer, chairman of the Ebeltoft Group and Director of the Retail Institute Scandinavia, the Scandinavian member of the global alliance.

Busy lifestyles call for convenient shopping experiences. Modern and tech-savvy consumers are more demanding than ever since they have never felt more time-poor, and they are therefore looking for solutions and services that can save them valuable time. 63% of global consumers find it important that stores offer options that help them save time while shopping (72% of Millennials).

“Once again, we see how consumers are interested in digital solutions, both in-store and outside of it, that will help them save time. For example, 57% of Millennials are interested in buying groceries directly through a smart refrigerator. Automated services and IoT devices that allow customers to shop without hassle – maybe even without noticing they are shopping at all – will be paramount for future consumers”, says Dorte Wimmer.

More than half of Millennials and Generation X consumers want social shopping 66% of Millennials globally indicate an interest in in-store events and activities, as shown by the report. More than half of Generation X consumers (57%) and 43% of Baby Boomers and Seniors find these social experiences in the store interesting as well.

“When stores do not offer consumers to save time, they must provide them with meaningful experiences through high engagement initiatives. Millennials especially want experiences they can post on social media about, and by establishing the store as a provider of social experiences, where customers not only come to buy products, but to form social relationships, greater emotional ties can be formed with the brand as it will evoke memories of pleasant and joyful experiences – not to mention the social capital it will cast off on e.g. Instagram”, explains Dorte Wimmer and adds: “The overall point is, that the store is designed with social experiences as the focal point rather than the direct sale”.

All consumers demand responsibility According to the report, most attitudes and behaviors are driven by Millennials, but when it comes to sustainability and social responsibility, Generation X consumers and Baby Boomers and Seniors are just as conscious as Millennials, according to the report. 81% of global consumers feel it is important that retailers and brands employ social responsibility initiatives, and 84% also feel it is important that brands and retailers care about sustainability and offer services like recycling and re-use.

“In recent years, we have seen an incredible surge in consumer consciousness. As the global economy is thriving, conscious and sustainable consumption has become a mainstream topic pervading all consumers’ attitudes and behaviors. This consumption awareness is further spurred by the digital revolution, as consumers have access to more information on production methods, sustainability issues, ethics, and are able to spread news and opinions through social media faster than ever. Responsibility is really no longer a choice, but a requirement”, says chairman of Ebeltoft Group, Dorte Wimmer.


About the Ebeltoft Group Global Consumer Report 2019

The Ebeltoft Group 2019 Global Consumer Report studies consumers in select markets to uncover their behaviors and attitudes and shares the insights across the world. This report links the four key trends to the innovation cases in Global Retail Trends & Innovations 2019. For this report, 13,000 consumers were surveyed in January 2019, covering 14 international markets and member countries, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Spain, UK and US.

To read the full report, go to, and for more inspiration and innovative examples that bring these trends to life, get a copy of this year’s Global Retail Trends & Innovations 2019 publication at

About Ebeltoft Group

Ebeltoft Group is a global alliance of retail consultants with members in 20 mature and emerging retail markets. We work closely with clients from around the world, to help transform their business and develop innovative and strategic retail solutions. Since 1990, we have helped retailers and suppliers remain competitive and achieve their goals by blending global retail expertise with our members’ local insights. Ebeltoft Group serves 36 of the top 100 retailers and 29 of the top 50 manufacturers worldwide. Since its founding, Ebeltoft Group has been conducting annual global research and trend studies, in addition to analyzing global retail innovation trends. Since 2005, Ebeltoft Group has presented the annual publication, Global Retail Trends & Innovations, focused on emerging trends and innovative cases across the globe. The Ebeltoft Group Global Consumer Report 2019 adds another layer to the publication by investigating consumer behavior across member countries.


For more information and insights, please contact:

Dorte Wimmer

Chairman, Ebeltoft Group


McMillanDoolittle is a premier international retail consultancy bringing deep experience with world class clients. Our partners have extensive experience interpreting the retail marketplace and converting insights into successful strategies. We help clients develop innovative solutions in strategy development, the customer experience, new concepts, brand performance, retail performance improvement and retail intelligence services.

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