Millennials Postponing Marriage
Millennials are getting hitched at a later age compared to their parent’s generation. The number of Millennial couples that are living together prior to saying “I do” has increased, postponing the average age of marriage.
After years of cohabiting together, Millennial couples find themselves furnished with all the kitchen and home good items needed for their apartment or home. This is leaving traditional bridal registries at a loss, as Millennials are not looking to receive the traditional china set or toaster from their wedding guests.
In previous generations, getting married at a younger age fueled the need for household items that traditional bridal registries offered, to help jumpstart a couple's life together.
Stores such as Williams-Sonoma and Bed Bath & Beyond are scrambling to keep up with the changing lifestyle preferences of Millennial wedding couples. These traditional retailers are witnessing a decline in the number of classic bridal registries and an increase in the number of Millennials asking simply for gifts of money.
In lieu of a bridal registry at similar brick-and-mortar retailers, Millennials are looking to use cash bridal registries that are geared toward enabling them to purchase experiences instead of items.
Millennials Want Experiential Wedding Gifts Over Home Goods
Since Millennials already have all the household items they need, they would rather have the cash to buy what they want. Millennial couples are choosing experiences over items since they don’t have the space to store larger, traditional wedding gifts that won't be used.
In the past, it was considered "bad manners" to ask wedding guests for cash but that is no longer the case (apologies, Martha Stewart). But now, the trend is to register for contemporary wedding registries essentially asking for cash, yet giving guests the option to choose which activities the newly wedded couple will experience on their honeymoon.
For example, online wedding registry Blueprint has found that 70% of couples are asking for at least one cash gift on their registry. They also found a growing trend with Millennials registering for both cash and physical gifts, seeing a stark contrast in the bump-up in cash gifts. Millennials getting hitched are looking to use the cash gifts towards things like their honeymoon and home remodeling projects.
Historically, gift registries have been an integral way for many retailers to gain new customers. But home goods stores are feeling the pressure of the shift away from traditional wedding gift registries, needing to adapt to evolving gift-giving, and gift-receiving, preferences.
Millennials Saying "Yes" to Personalized Gift Registries
Anne Chertoff, a wedding industry marketing consultant, says there is a definite increase in the number of Millennials that are choosing a honeymoon registry which is really a cash registry – just classier than asking for cash.
It helps guests feel like they are contributing to an actual gift rather than giving a couple money to pay the bills. On the honeymoon registries, Millennial couples are registering for activities such as plane fares, hotel stays, massages, dinners, and excursions.
For many couples, it is about personalizing their dream honeymoon and picking experiences that they might not otherwise afford. Couples can also customize the honeymoon registry with photos and details as to why they are asking for said gift.
Target recently announced that it would be partnering with Honeyfund, an online cash gift registry where couples can customize their honeymoon. This combines the best of both worlds for Millennials in one online location, making gift registry a fuller experience for them, and giving guests the option to purchase a cash experience or products at Target.
As with most impacts Millennials are having in retail land, wedding registry preferences have significantly changed. The question is whether home goods retailers can evolve and adapt quick enough to meet the needs and demands of Millennial couples heading to the altar.