Millennials: $600B annually

An article from WWD references the $600B Millennials spend annually in the U.S. The number is projected to grow to $1.4T in 2020 — when the oldest of the cohort will be approaching their mid-40s. Given what I saw at ComplexCon, I am a believer. 

The curious aspect, though, is that this generation came of age and entered the workforce in 2008 (think the Great Recession). Many of these young people are underemployed and still paying off student loans. 

According to the Census Bureau, the typical 18- to 34-year old makes $2000 less each year than their cohorts did in 1980. Across the world, 60 percent of Millennials say they feel personally influenced by the economic crisis and are doing more of their shopping at thrift stores to find cheap and unique clothes. 

On this point, one of the results is a significant drop in sales of branded clothing from the "culture of conformity" troika: Abercrombie & Fitch, Aeropostale, and American Eagle. Young people more often look for opportunities to mix and match: unbranded goods, occasionally knock-offs, vintage as well as fast fashion. This confidence in presenting their own personal taste is reflected in (and encouraged by) the prevalence of social media. The practice of trying on different "selves" on social media translates into a comfort trying on different looks in the real world, not defined by a brand or a celebrity.  

Circling back to ComplexCon: how do we bridge the gap between the trends reported above and what we saw?