Impatient game-changers: millennials are changing economies and shaping e-commerce

Millennials are responsible for the rise of new digital trends according to MENA’s Millennials Decoded report conducted by research and consulting firm Ipsos. This tech-savvy generation account for 57 per cent of the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) population and are disturbing the status quo.

“Not content with being passive onlookers, they are heavy content contributors and hyper-sharers, with eight in 10 sharing content at least once a week,” according to the report.

While social networking is a key part of their online presence, 74 per cent also interact with brands and businesses online, much higher than the previous generation before them.

The report, which surveyed 5,600 people from eight countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Iran, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan, portrayed millennials as global citizens of the world, who are fascinated with other cultures, no longer confined to the borders of their own countries.

This openness and willingness to change the way they consume products is benefitting e-commerce startups. More than 40 per cent of those surveyed said they shop online, while 27 per cent shop through social media and 24 per cent shop through mobile apps.

The audience of The Luxury Closet, an e-commerce platform that sells pre-owned luxury goods, is split across millennial and non-millennials.

“I think millennials are digital first,” says Kunal Kapoor, chief executive officer at The Luxury Closet, an e-commerce platform that sells pre-owned luxury goods. “Access to information, communication, decisions and actions can all be made digitally. They are pushing the economy to go digital and adopting services that like them, are digital first.”

The trends are similar for HolidayMe, a travel-booking website.

“Close to 45 per cent of our website visitors are millennials and 40 perc ent of HolidayMe buyers are millennials on an average,” said Natasha Desouza, the company’s senior marketing manager . “The main differentiator which sets apart millennials is the probability to get influenced by peers/reviews/social platforms before buying online. They are explorers who are not hesitant to make expensive purchases online and are impulse buyers.”

She added that such characteristics are forcing brands to evolve and adapt their strategy to better cater to their needs. “In terms of travel, millennials are choosing their own journeys, customising their trips, relying on online forums and blogs for information and tend to spend their money on leisure travel rather than saving it for the future. The digital economy is growing at a rapid pace and is only going to grow at an exponential rate going forward,” she added.

While these numbers may look promising, the region’s high unemployment rate and the increasing financial burdens (1 in 7 millennials are in debt, the report stated) are affecting how millennials look at the future.

Only 6 in 10 feel optimistic about their generation’s future and their skepticism is the result of increasing financial pressures, the report stated. But “these same challenges are playing a key role in shaping a new type of consumer, one that keeps itself informed, is more price sensitive, but also more conscious and socially responsible compared to previous generations. They are also less forgiving consumers who will not tolerate bad experiences with brands,” added Mohammed Minawi, chief client officer at Ipsos in Mena.

[Disclaimer: Wamda Capital invested in The Luxury Closet]


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