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Make No Mistake: Millennials Still Critical

Millennials have been the buzz for quite a while. But, it is true. Millennials are the largest and most diverse generation in the U.S. The generation has surpassed Baby Boomers to become the largest U.S. generational group (24.5% of the population compared to 22.6% for Baby Boomers). The prediction that they would be the target consumer to go after was correct. This generation spending is a projected $400+ billion each year. But marketing to the Millennial is a challenge, partly because this generation is unlike any that’s come before them.

U.S. marketers cited “the emergence of millennials” as the second most important trend that will have the greatest impact on their industry over the next decade. (Mobile was #1)

So, what do we know about them?
• Median HHI: $61k
• Home ownership: 53%
• Urban 23% / Suburban 22% / Town/rural 33%
• 56% live paycheck to paycheck
• 67% prefer to shop digitally vs. in-store
• Mobile is a must. With mobile commerce expected to grow 30%+ by 2019, experiences optimized for mobile are swiftly becoming a necessity.
• Still value print media. 76% enjoy reading magazines even though they can find the information online. In fact, 58% trust the information in print magazines more than information from online sources.

How they view the real world:
• Realness & transparency
• Diversity & equality

How they determine fulfillment:
• Self-acceptance
• Creativity & self-expression
• Entrepreneurism

What they consider happiness:
• Positivity
• Fun

What they desire from content:
• Desire to escape
• Desire to “see it all”
• Desire to be “in the know”
• Desire for resources to succeed

Characteristics valued in brands:
Authenticity, surprise, disruption, smart, purpose, interaction, diversity entertainment, feel good, experiential, value

What about affluent millennials?
There are over 6.2 million Millennials aged 18-34 with annual household incomes over $100,000. However, these Millennials don’t all look the same. While on the brink of a massive generational transfer of personal wealth and one of the largest generations in history, this powerful demographic will command major attention and changes in the way brands are engaging and serving them.

Affluent Millennials value authentic brand relationships. They want and expect brands to engage in a creative, integrated way that supports their lifestyle. Brands looking to get Millennials on their side need to speak to them—not like them. Use of slang words, trendy language or celebrity quotes simply don’t resonate.

They also thrive on exclusive social access and knowing the latest trends. This empowers them to be leaders and trendsetters within their age cohort. But, isn’t it ironic? Although digital natives, they still turn to traditional media to deliver a unique source of entertainment and information. They’re just not ready to disengage with media they have trusted and valued.

So, does age really matter?
Hell yes! As one of the largest generations in history is about to move into its prime spending years, brands need to acknowledge how Millennials are poised to reshape the economy. Their unique experiences will change the ways they buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come.

Sources: eMarketer, Nielsen, Mintel, YouGov, Pew Research

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