Millennials, also known as Gen Y, have been known to buck traditions, forcing retailers, employers, and even society as a whole to adjust to their contemporary lifestyles. It should come as no surprise, then, that one of the industries Millennials are having a huge impact on is the wedding industry.
Since Millennials are waiting longer than any other generation before to tie the knot, it’s understandable that their preference for gifts is different, too.
According to a recent New York Times article, young couples are asking for cash, gift cards and lavish honeymoon experiences instead of the more traditional china sets, crystal stemware, and wine decanters.
“Couples of this generation prefer experiences over stuff,” says Jason Dorsey, President and Millennial Researcher at The Center for Generational Kinetics. “Less is more. This generation of couples lives in smaller spaces and don’t need all of the traditional wedding gifts. Instead, they would prefer a visit to a yoga retreat or tickets to a concert. They want their gifts to have more personal reflections of what they value.”
Another reason for this change is that many Millennials have lived on their own and have already accumulated many household items before deciding to move in with their significant others.
“When people have lived on their own for years, it is hard to register when they marry,” says Dr. Arielle Kuperberg, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. “This generation of couples also cohabitate in great numbers, entertain casually, marry later. We call this the ‘independent life stage.’ They don’t need anything more for the house.”
While this may leave big box department stores in the dust, websites and apps such as SimpleRegistry and Honeyfund have sprung up to cater specifically to this changing tide. The companies that adapt to meet Millennials’ unique customer preferences will win big for many years to come.