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The Harris Poll recently released its 29th annual EquiTrend Study, and newly-released analysis based on the research indicates that Millennials award higher brand equity than Boomers to most retail categories. The brand equity ratings – based on familiarity, quality perceptions and purchase consideration – show that luxury department stores are among those with greater favorability among Millennials than Boomers.

The analysis compared the composite brand equity ratings given by Millennials and Boomers across 7 retail categories, finding that they were higher for Millennials in 6. Specifically:

  • Sporting goods store brand equity was 7.7 points higher for Millennials;
  • Luxury department store equity was 5.7 points higher;
  • Electronics store equity was 5.6 points higher;
  • Off-price retailer equity was 4.9 points higher;
  • Footwear store equity was 4 points higher; and
  • Department store equity was 3.8 points higher.

The only category in which Boomers awarded higher brand equity was the Hardware & Home Store category (3.8 points higher for Boomers).

The news is likely happily received by retailers, who are undergoing big changes wrought by new consumer behaviors and the growth of e-commerce. The findings are also interesting in light of recent research suggesting that Millennials are more likely to approach shopping as fun and relaxing, whereas Boomers are more interested in convenience.

Looking at year-over-year trends, the analysis shows that off-price retailers were the only to see an increase in brand equity across all generations, while footwear and electronics stores saw declines across generations. There was a clear generational divide for luxury department stores and sporting goods stores, which saw brand equity increases among Millennials but decreases for Gen Xers and Boomers.

As for this year’s top brands by equity? They shook out as follows:

  • Department Store: Kohl’s
  • Electronics Store: Best Buy
  • Footwear Store: DSW
  • Hardware & Home Store: The Home Depot
  • Luxury Department Store: Nordstrom
  • Off-Price Retailer: TJ Maxx
  • Sporting Goods Store: Dick’s Sporting Goods

The full release can be found here.

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