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NPD: Millennials Shop for Signature Items

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It might be time to rethink those orders of black and brown shoes. Millennial consumers search for statement or “signature” items that are conducive to sharing on social media.

In a white paper titled, “Retail Reborn: How the Aspirational Purchase Has Shifted,” NPD Group examined key retail trends in a “post-aspirational” retail world, where consumers dictate the trends and retailers chase them.

Among NPD’s key findings is the desire for a signature item.

“Such items are best thought as an attempt by a consumer to stand out in a personally significant manner,” the report states, naming vintage sneakers or a coat from an obscure Japanese designer as examples of these personalized pieces.

However, NPD says the trend points to bigger story in that millennial consumers are willing to spend more time carefully selecting their purchases.

A recent study by NPD in partnership with Stylitics found millennial customers treat a handbag purchase as a multi-step process, and 41 percent begin thinking about their most recent handbag purchase more than a month in advance.

A signature item also has photographic appeal. As a generation that shares everything, NPD says a “signature item’s purpose is to be shown, as much as it is to be used.”

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