Millennials are expected to outspend the Baby Boomers by 2017.

While the Millennial generation is expected to outspend Baby Boomers by 2017, retailers are underestimating the size and purchasing power of this consumer. That's the conclusion of a new study, “What Happens When Millennials Get the Wallet”' from Berglass and Associates and Women's Wear Daily.

The  study included an online survey, which was conducted in September 2013 and queried 121 U.S. business leaders primarily in the apparel, accessories, footwear and beauty sectors, including department stores, specialty stores, home shopping and direct-mail catalogs. Key findings unveiled in the survey include:

•    Approximately half of respondents are unaware that Millennials are expected to outspend Baby Boomers annually within five years.
•    Millennials rely most on their friends to make buying decisions, yet more than a quarter of respondents mistakenly believe that online advertising is the number one influencer of Millennials' purchasing activity.
•    Of the executives that were surveyed, more than 30 percent are CEOs or presidents who plan to significantly increase their digital leadership over the next three years.
•    Sixty percent of respondents are not conducting any research or analysis of the Millennial customer.
•    Only 36 percent of respondents from companies with both physical stores and e-commerce sites offer a seamless customer experience, yet Millennials expect the channels to be integrated.

“Millennials have different motivations, attitudes and behaviors than previous generations, and retailers need to adjust their business strategies accordingly in order to thrive,” said Les Berglass, CEO of Berglass.