How Millennials Will Influence The Future Of Micro Market Payments

Oct. 4, 2016

There’s no doubt that Millennials already influence a great deal of change in the workplace. Specifically, companies are turning to more gourmet food and beverage options, offering a more flexible work/life balance, and even reformatting the in-office workplace to include more collaborative spaces. This is all in response to the generation of 18 to 34 year olds who value personalization and interconnectivity.

As Baby Boomers retire and Millennials continue to make up a rising majority in the workplace, we will begin to see even more changes coming in the future that reflect this generation’s preferences.

In micro markets specifically, Millennials will not only continue to influence the types of products that are offered, but the way they purchase those products, too.

Cash fades, but doesn’t disappear

New research released by Euromonitor International found that for the first time, payments made using credit, debit, charge and other cards will overtake cash payments worldwide in 2016. Cash reportedly currently makes up around 2 percent of purchases in micro markets, but as credit and debit card usage increases, this number could continue to decline.

There are a few reasons this might be alarming for micro market operators. First, although cash can be a headache to manage, older customers are comfortable with the payment method, which makes the micro market concept more welcoming for those users. Second, as customers grow to use their debit and credit card for smaller ticket items, swipe fees can also be a challenge. For Millennials specifically, more than half prefer to use a card, and about one in four carry less than $5 cash with them, according to The G Brief.

But Tom Pierce, CMO of Cardtronics, told Chron to not count cash out yet. “Millennials take an open-minded view of payments and cash plays a pivotal role in their payment choice mix," he told the source.

Mobile payments to increase

Currently credit and debit cards make up 49 percent of purchases in micro markets, however, that might change as Millennials come to adopt the newer payment method of mobile wallets. According to Inc., the generation that currently uses mobile payments the most are Millennials, with 23 percent of them using this payment solution at least once a week. In fact, Inc. writes that, “The total value of mobile payment transactions is forecasted to grow 210 percent in 2016 – from $8.71 billion to $27.05 billion.”

It's not hard to see why. The large majority of Millennials already claim that their phones are always with them – and many use their phones for online banking and loyalty/promotion offerings in other retail segments. There is momentum in mobile payments, which will help this payment method grow in the micro market space in the coming years, especially because 50 percent of Millennials report that they would prefer to use mobile payments to speed financial transactions.

Millennials love a value

In a study, Synchrony Financial Analytics found that Millennials were more likely to purchase a product if they had a loyalty discount or coupon. Operators tying a discount to a stored-value account could also see increased usage in this payment method, which has other advantages such as allowing for customer purchase history data.

An integral part of getting your customer to come back to the micro market is offering their preferred method of payment. Right now there isn’t one payment that stands out among the rest, but Millennials will certainly influence the micro market payment trends in the coming years, whether that is a preference for cash, credit & debit, mobile payments or stored value accounts.

About the Author

Adrienne Klein | Contributing Editor

Adrienne Zimmer Klein is a freelance writer with a background in the vending, micro market and office coffee service industry. She worked at Automatic Merchandiser and from 2013 until February of 2017.