The Millennial Influence on Retail - Health

The Millennial Influence on Retail is Regency Centers' five-part series that outlines a generational impact on retail health, food, technology, and events & experience. Each week, we will provide a look inside current market trends and behaviors, due to the changing lifestyles, wants, and needs of this influential demographic.

Health (Part Two)

Millennials are extremely health-focused with their spending habits. They are active, eat well, and even experiment with non-traditional diets that range from paleo and veganism to ketosis. This is for a variety of reasons, which include animal ethics, dietary restrictions, environmentalism, health, and even preference. Because of this popularity, other generations now have unprecedented access to these new health options that they didn’t previously, and they’re curious.

Young man with salmon, avocado, nuts — parts of a paleo dietPhoto Shutterstock

Places like Luna Grill, that have been offering vegetarian/vegan options since 2004, have seen continuous growth and success with their plant-based offerings. They have always viewed it as a clean and healthy way to live, both individually and environmentally. This philosophy lines up perfectly with today’s market patterns, which we will see with other retail sectors in different ways.

Luna Grill Platter featuring Mediterranean dishesLuna Grill vegetarian-friendly platter / Photo Luna Grill

When it comes to exercise, Millennials are all about deconstructed fitness, otherwise known as “boutique fitness.” Concepts including OrangeTheory Fitness, SoulCycle, Pure Barre, Crossfit, CorePower Yoga, Club Pilates and others make up the new wave of staying in shape. Their interest revolves around specialization, intensity, and brand loyalty. People want to show up, work hard, and move on to their next goal or interest. These memberships are not cheap, which demonstrates the importance of deconstructed, specialized fitness in their lifestyles. Additionally, each of these concepts creates a close-knit sense of community. It is fostered through social media, and it becomes a sort of second family of shared suffering and personal progression.

Outside of SoulCycle studioPhoto Nicole S Glass /

This also adds amazing potential for merchandising and leasing opportunities. Where you once had a massive anchor location being occupied by one gym you now have the same amenities spread out through a center. Placing a café that provides healthy eating options next to a yoga studio instantly creates synergy that might not have been there before. We see this directly at California's Westlake Plaza, which touts a Mendocino Farms sandwich market near an OrangeTheory Fitness and CorePower Yoga. In Jacksonville, FL healthy grab-and-go spot Nekter Juice is near Big Fish Yoga at our South Beach Regional center.

Woman in a yoga pose on the floorPhoto UnSplash

These active lifestyles also translate into a lot more time spent outdoors. Companies like Patagonia and REI have seen a lot of success with the Millennial generation because of their focus on environmentalism, eliminating waste, and quality service. Patagonia, especially, has seen a rise in following due to their unique philosophy on work-life balance, sustainability, and their interesting focus on people over profit. Instead, they look to have products that facilitate a lifestyle for those who value the outdoors. The lifestyle becomes the brand, and that is what keeps people shopping there. Additionally, REI keeping their stores closed on Black Friday also demonstrates a people-over-profit ethos that resonates extremely well with current shoppers.

Young woman taking a selfie in a kayak on a frozen lake. Photo REI / @TheVagabonist