Millennials Are Taking Their Big Purchases Online

On the latest episode of the E-Commerce Retail Briefing podcast:

Making big online purchases has become normalized for millennials. Now, engagement ring and wedding band companies are driving the trend in the wedding industry.

  • According to a survey from Accenture, almost 50% of Americans said they would gift used apparel this year. More said they would be ok with receiving used apparel as presents themselves. With the secondhand market expected to hit $51 billion by 2023, reused gifts could continue to grow in popularity. The new trend is being driven by younger consumers, with 80% of Gen Z shoppers saying they plan to give thrifted gifts, according to a survey from ThredUp.
  • TikTok rolled out two new features, marking the beginning of the platform expanding into social commerce. The video app said it has started to allow some users to add links to e-commerce sites to their profile biography as well as let creators the ability to easily send viewers to websites. The company said the new features were a part of its normal experimentation to improve the app for users. Though, this new experiment could change how much value influencers see on the platform. If TikTok retains these features, it could disrupt the social commerce space.
  • Walmart reported an increase in U.S. sales of 3.2% to $83.2 billion. The retail giant’s third-quarter revenue rose 2.5% year over year to $128 billion. The company’s largest growth was in e-commerce sales. In a statement, Walmart’s CEO said, “We’re committed to progress and building a larger, healthier eCommerce business.”

Millennials Make Big Purchases Online

Making big online purchases has become more normalized as digitally-native direct-to-consumer brands grow more commonplace. While consumers would traditionally head to stores to purchase something like a mattress, they’re now making those same purchases online. The wedding industry, expected to generate $76 billion in revenue this year alone, is also seeing a consumer shift to exclusively online experiences. The founder of Four Mine, a direct-to-consumer engagement ring company, found that 90% of millennials were researching their ring online but only 10% of purchases were actually done online. 

Companies like Four Mine, Brilliant Earth, James Allen, and Manly Bands are bridging that gap. Founders of DTC engagement and wedding ring brands believe that millennials would rather research and buy their rings at home without the pressure from pushy jewelry store reps. The founders also say that the wave of direct-to-consumer mattress brands helped pave the way for millennials to make more big purchases online. According to a strategy director at YARD NYC, “Millennials are looking for brands that fit into and understand their lifestyles — and many of the traditional players in the space had begun to feel stuffy — more like their parents’ brands than their brand…They want quality, but without the markup, and that’s what DTC can offer.”