According to Roth MKM’s 2023 Millennial Survey, Millennials increasingly prioritize health and wellness and favor Nike, Adidas and Lululemon over other activewear brands.

The survey of 2,500 U.S. males and females in the Millennial age group conducted in November 2022 found that 64 percent of their health and wellness purchases were influenced by the pandemic, including 25.1 percent who indicated the pandemic had “significantly” influenced their purchases.

“Health and wellness and convenience have become more important for millennials since the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Paul Zaffaroni, managing director and head of consumer investment banking at Roth MKM. “Consumer brands that have adapted to these changes will continue to command premium valuations from institutional investors and strategic acquirers.”

According to the survey, recent inflationary pressures have also impacted purchasing decisions for the group, with seventy-six percent of Millennials reducing their spending due to higher prices for everyday and non-discretionary goods. Also, 45 percent have started purchasing more private-label goods in place of branded ones.

Matt Koranda, managing director and senior research analyst at Roth MKM, said, “While Millennials continue to revert to more normal post-pandemic behaviors, they are clearly feeling the pinch from inflationary pressures evident across the consumer landscape. Our survey shows that Millennial consumers are still willing to spend on innovative brands, products, and services that tailor offerings to meet their unique needs.”

Nike was the top choice for Millennials when asked in the survey about their favorite apparel and footwear brands. Key findings include:

  • Nike was the favorite activewear brand, cited by 38.4 percent of respondents, followed by Adidas, 8.6 percent; Under Armour, 4.7 percent; and Lululemon, 3.8 percent.
  • Nike was rated the favorite outdoor apparel brand, cited by 17.7 percent of respondents, followed by The North Face, 7.1 percent; Columbia Sportswear, 5.8 percent; Patagonia, 5.3 percent; Adidas, 4.1 percent; Carhartt, 0.3 percent; and REI, 0.1 percent.
  • Nike ranked as the favorite outdoor footwear brand, cited by 35.4 percent of respondents, followed by Adidas, 6.6 percent; Timberland, 3.7 percent; Vans, 2.2 percent; New Balance, 2.0 percent; On, 0.2 percent; and Asics. 0.1 percent.
  • Nike was the favorite fashion footwear brand, cited by 25.4 percent of respondents, followed by Adidas, 5.0 percent; Vans, 3.7 percent; Steve Madden, 3.2 percent; Gucci, 3.0 percent; Dr. Martens, 0.3 percent; and New Balance, 0.1 percent.

The survey found that Millennials primarily shop for fashion and apparel in-store rather than online. More than half of Millennials prefer mass retailers and department stores over fast-fashion retailers when shopping for fashion or apparel in-store.

Amazon is Millenial’s favorite online apparel website, cited by 14.3 percent of respondents, followed by Nike, 7.0 percent; Shein, 6.1 percent; Target, 4.9 percent; Old Navy, 3.7 percent; and Kohl’s, 2.4 percent.

When purchasing apparel online, the top factor in where Millenials shop was best value, cited by 18.1 percent, followed by lowest prices, 16.5 percent; fit and size information, 11.7 percent; free delivery, 11.6 percent; and customer reviews, 8.9 percent.

Fifty-two percent of Millennials said they had purchased apparel from brands they first discovered on Instagram, while 46 percent had purchased secondhand clothes or accessories at least some of the time. Only 13 percent of Millennials surveyed had tried apparel or accessory rental services, while females were far more likely to use those services.

Among other categories, Gucci topped Millennials’ favorite luxury goods brand ranking for the third straight year, cited by 13.8 percent of respondents. Gucci was followed by Nike, cited by 4.6 percent; Louis Vuitton, 4.0 percent; Coach, 3.4 percent; Chanel, 0.2 percent; Yves Saint Laurent, 0.2 percent; and Dior, 0.1 percent.

Ray-Ban topped the rankings of favorite sunglass brands, cited by 8.9 percent of survey respondents, followed by Oakley, 8.5 percent; Gucci, 4.4 percent; and Yves Saint Laurent, 2.0 percent.

Asked about their favorite reusable water bottles or tumbler brand, Yeti topped the list, cited by 22.3 percent, followed by Hydro Flask, 11.2 percent; Contigo, 2.9 percent; Starbucks, 2.1 percent; CamelBak, 1.2 percent; and Stanley, 0.2 percent. Two-thirds of respondents own reusable water bottles or tumblers.

Probing fitness and health habits, the survey found that 50 percent of Millennials exercise more than twice weekly. Post-COVID-19, Millennials exercise more in fitness clubs, with 61 percent of survey respondents saying they returned to fitness clubs since the pandemic.

Overall, 26.1 percent of respondents work out in a fitness club versus 13.0 percent during COVID. Among the respondents, 8.7 percent go to boutique fitness studios versus 3.1 percent during COVID.

Eighteen percent of Millennials said they exercise using their connected fitness equipment, with 49 percent of those equipment owners streaming fitness classes two or more times per week. Ninety-three percent said they were satisfied with their connected fitness equipment. 

Peloton was the most popular connected fitness equipment brand cited among Millennials surveyed by 24.6 percent, followed by treadmill, 13.6 percent; NordicTrack, 5.0 percent; Mirror, 3.1 percent; and Fitbit, 2.1 percent.

The majority of respondents, 58.7 percent, exercise independently with no subscriptions. Among those respondents, 28 percent said they plan to buy fitness equipment in the next twelve months, while 45 percent prefer to exercise outdoors more post-COVID-19.

Among other activities, 47 percent of Millennials hike while 22 percent participate in winter sports activities. Fourteen percent play golf, while 18 percent of those earning an income above $100,000 play golf—a quarter of Millennials who golf reported playing more this year than they did two years ago.

Twenty-four percent of millennials participate in shooting sports and a quarter owns a gun, while 37 percent would consider owning a firearm.

Photo courtesy LULU