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December 14, 2017

Gen Z and Millennials Go Small

Posted at 12:06 PM



It’s all over the news these days, large corporations acquiring niche brands to add to their impressive repertoire. Amid the so-called retail apocalypse, buyers are on the hunt for the next best thing to appeal to an increasingly demanding consumer. In the epic battle between small brands and corporate empires, smaller companies seem to have a serious leg up on the competition.

At its core, smaller-scale brands are innately agile and transparent, appealing to younger generations that demand all that and more. According to a study conducted by Mintel, half of consumers questioned said they trust small companies to do the right thing, while only 36% trusted larger companies.

Younger consumers continue to bewilder retailers as they drastically change the way organizations do business. Millennials and Generation Z represent the face of the young and fickle shopper. With a more diverse view on life, both generations crave a sense of personalization and transparency from brands. Analyzing the needs of each distinct generation requires a breakdown of the mindset behind each of age group.


Starting off with the oldest and most targeted generation, millennials are defined as those born between 1977 and 1995. This influential group holds a colossal $65 billion in buying power, making this generation a must-watch for retailers and brands alike. Experiences are at the root of the millennial’s desires, specifically different and real experiences. The current buzzword with this cohort is authenticity, in other words millennials want to know that their products are ethically made and socially responsible. With a preference for shopping local, and a willingness to spend big bucks to support the local community there is serious opportunity for retailers to work with these kinds of brands. In a study conducted by AT&T, nearly half of millennials who participated were willing to spend more money supporting a small business than older generations.

Generation Z is the youngest cohort out there, having been born as late as 1996. This group is best known for its skepticism of just about everything. Generation Z holds $44 billion in buying power, which is quite impressive considering the fact that these consumers have yet to take on full-time jobs. Overall Generation Z craves equality, is very present politically and socially, and consider themselves both autonomous and self-reliant. For this younger group, originality, price, and quality rules over brand name. Generally speaking this generation is practically immune to traditional advertising, requiring brands to imbue seamless and innovative marketing to make sales.

The move away from big brands is alive and well with young consumers. Gone are the days when six or seven fashion behemoths dominated the marketplace. Now it’s all about being anti-establishment and disassociating with big corporations. Micro brands are in, translating to a trend of working with, rather than fighting off smaller brands.

POOLTRADESHOW represents small independent brands that bring a unique voice to the table, embodying exactly what Millennials and Generation Z are on the hunt for. Behind every brand at POOL is a close-knit team that consists of the founder and individuals that truly believe in what the company stands for. From Power & Light Press tote bags that support Planned Parenthood, to tonlé fair trade, zero-waste garments, POOLTRADESHOW has it all.

Register here to attend POOLTRADESHOW February 12-14, 2018 in Las Vegas.