Will JCPenney’s Marketing Shift from Millennials to Mothers Resonate?

Q: How do JCPenney shoppers compare to that of shoppers who visit retailers most often associated with millennials or mothers?

A: In looking at the three groups of shoppers, there is little difference in audience types. The shopping habits of visitors to retailers typically associated with mothers do not match that of JCPenney visitors.

In an effort to increase sales in recent years, JCPenney developed a new, “younger” brand identity and marketed towards millennials. The abrupt shift away from the brand’s older core customers led some to criticise ex-CEO Ron Johnson, a strategy that was not course-corrected by his successor, ex-CEO Marvin Ellison, who resigned in May 2018.

Now the brand seems to be shifting back to its previous consumer base. “After spending the past few years chasing after millennials, J.C. Penney Co. executives say they are now focused on wooing another elusive group: middle-aged moms,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

In order to understand the relationship JCPenney has with millennials and mothers, our team analyzed the shopping behaviors of visitors to brands typically associated with each group. For the purposes of this study, visitors to retailers like White House Black Market, New York and Company, Banana Republic, and Gap were classified as “mothers” and visitors to H&M, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and Hollister, were classified as “millennials.” Devices identified as employees were screened out of the analysis.

Mothers and millennials are more likely to visit Nordstrom and Bloomingdales than JCPenney’s shoppers

JCPenney shoppers are no more likely than the average population to shop at Bloomingdales. Mothers, on the other hand, are 3x more likely and millennials are 2x more likely to visit Bloomingdales than the average American consumer. JCPenney shoppers are 122.23% more likely to shop at Nordstrom than the average population, but are significantly less likely to shop at Nordstrom than Middle-Aged Brand Shoppers (247.56%) and Millennial Shoppers (230.96%).

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