Who Are Millennials?
Millennials or Generation Y is the demographic cohort born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s.
The oldest of this generation reached adulthood in the early 2000s, that is when the new millennium began; hence, the name ‘Millennial’.
Born during the age of technological advancement, Millennials are amalgamations of diverse traits. While the older generations call them shallow and narcissistic, we cannot ignore their bold, open-minded approach, which has heralded dramatic social, political and professional changes.
Who are Millennials & Why do They Matter?
According to the Brookings Institute, Millennials are the people born between 1981 and 1996. They follow Generation X and are typically the offspring of Baby boomers. Hence, Millennials are also called Baby Boomlets or Echo Boomers.
Millennials are also regarded as the “Me” Generation, Boomerang Generation, Peter Pan Generation, and Generation Waking Up.
Although they had ‘high-tech’ goods around them from the very beginning, Millennials’ technology was limited to CD drives, heavy computer games, and push-button phones. They have seen the world shift from technologically growing to technologically driven.
They were the first generation to enjoy the pleasures of the virtual world, and, combined with liberal parenting, it gave them more exposure than the previous generations. Because of this, they are creative, open-minded, and inculcated with novel characteristics. As adults, they are pioneers in various social, political, and professional fields.
According to MSCI, in 2020, 23% of the global population, that is, 1.8 billion people worldwide were millennials. As such, they are a wide and impactful demographic segment.
Characteristics Of Millennials
Generation Before Millennials
Generation after Millennials
Millennials have reached adulthood by 2020 and have already taken up their responsibilities. They work, pay the bills, repay loans and EMIs, and manage their families. Some are also in leadership positions within their organisations. Be it politics, economy, corporates, or society, Millennials are proving their worth everywhere.
Since Millennials grew in a fast-evolving world, they have learnt to adapt to new developments. Unlike Baby Boomers and Generation X, they tend to be less resistant (and even welcoming) to social, political, technological, and economic change.
Millennials are arguably the first generation to be exposed to technology. They grew up with high-tech devices around them and innovation coming in every day. They saw the world move from Walkman to iPods, from heavy computer games to cloud-based mobile games. This is why they are open and receptive to technology and its advancement.
Millennials have been exposed to a plethora of unconventional ideas while growing up. They realise and accept the differences among people, their ideals, and their identities. Therefore, they value diversity and tend to be inclusive.
Millennials bridge the gap between Generation X and Generation Z. They have seen invention and innovation change the world for good. They have been a part of the change; therefore, they value creativity and tend to be innovative.
Millennials tend to be more confident and achievement-oriented than previous generations. They seek challenges and like to work towards their goals. They multitask and work hard to get what they want. Moreover, they measure their progress in milestones and finished tasks rather than time. They appreciate feedback, learn from their mistakes, and strive to achieve what they want.
Favour Work-life Balance
Millennials prefer jobs with flexible hours over high-paying ones. They want more time to enjoy life and are less inclined towards working overtime. Generation Y doesn’t view work as central to their lives. For them, it’s the way to make a living outside which they want to live.
Focused on Individual Self
Millennials place self-fulfillment higher on their priority list than social responsibilities. They tend to be more focused on themselves than the previous generations have been. While some view this as a positive development, others term this attitude of Generation Y as ‘narcissistic’ and call them the “Me” Generation.
Understand Social Problems
Despite being focused on themselves, Millennials understand their privileges and try to work for the less privileged. For them, contributing towards social good is their responsibility. They try to make a difference by performing small gestures of generosity like POS donations, charity buying, volunteering, etc. instead of aligning with a social or political organisation. According to a report by Case Foundation, 81% of Millennials are confident that their efforts will make a difference. The big movements of our times, Black Lives Matter and Women March were heralded by the “Me” Generation.
Have less money
Millennials usually earn less than their parents. This curtails their spending power and is the reason why they demand access rather than ownership; for instance, Generation Y will prefer renting a car over buying it. They are also attracted by gift cards, coupons, discount schemes, etc. However, despite their price-sensitive nature, Millennials make sure to spend on valuable commodities.
Value Experiences over Goods
Although the older generations claim that Millennials are shallow and extrinsic, they usually value experiences and sentiments more than commodities. Despite being price sensitive, they try to purchase things that make them and their loved ones happy even when it means paying higher than usual.
Establish healthy relationships
Millennials value personal and professional relations. At workplaces, they are seen cultivating bonds with their colleagues and seniors to build a healthy work environment. They value their friends and families on the personal front and prefer spending time with them over earning a few extra bucks (a trait absent in the older generations).
Opinion leaders have good knowledge of a subject and can influence other people by their opinions. Millennial leaders tend to be knowledgeable and wise in their respective fields; their thoughts matter to the people around them.
Social media is another platform where Millennials are showcasing their abilities. Be it finance, lifestyle, or sports, Millennial influencers have gained the respect of the masses. Also, most of them have taken up the decision-making role in the families.
However, their leadership style is different from others; they tend to be inclusive rather than authoritarian. For them, everyone’s opinions matter.
Active on Social Media
A 2019 Pew Research Centre survey of U.S. adults revealed that 86% of Millennials use social media. They are active on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Twitter to stay connected with their friends and families and stay updated with the latest news and trends.
Marketing To The Millennials
According to a 2020 report by Accenture, Millennials spend 1.4 trillion on shopping. The generation forms such a huge portion of the consumer group that it becomes necessary for entrepreneurs, marketers, product and service developers, and strategists to understand their demands. Here are a few tips to help you build products and market them to Millennials.
Creating A Product For Millennials
Millennials have seen the world developing for good. Born in the world of expanding choices, they embrace the freedom to choose the goods and services they like.
Around 40% of Millennials want to be a part of the co-creation of products. You can any day conduct surveys to assess their demands or ask them to test your products. Since Generation Y welcomes them and likes to provide feedback for improvement, you may want them to be the first to try. They will surely guide you with their innovation and creativity.
They prefer products that contribute to social welfare
They are inclined towards goods and services that do their part in making the world a better place.
They opt for time-saving approaches
Millennials are certain to go for products that help them do things quickly and efficiently.
They are fond of innovation and technology
Appreciative of creativity, Generation Y prefers buying services that feed its zest for innovation.
They want cost-effective solutions
Since Millennials are not so rich as their parents, they demand cost-effective solutions to their problems and prefer products for use instead of acquisition.
Marketing The Product To Millennials
Target Them Online
According to research by Adweek, while only 49% of Generation X and 60% of Generation Z prefers mobile shopping, Millennials top the list with a whopping 71%.
Being working professionals who value leisure, Millennials have their schedules packed at all times. Mobile shopping appeals to them with its speed, efficiency, ease, and convenience.
According to Hubspot, you can find more than 90% of the Millennials on Facebook. Also, a CouponFollow survey shows that around 64% of the Millennials who shop online, use Amazon for more than half of their online purchases.
Therefore, when targeting Millennials, building your website, listing with an eCommerce aggregator (like Amazon), and/or engaging with them on social media, especially Facebook, is a must.
With innumerable similar products to choose from and an increasing number of paid sponsors, Millennials have stopped trusting the traditional marketing strategies. They crave authenticity so much that they would rather read blog posts and user reviews instead of clicking on a sponsored Instagram post.
Around 84% of the Millennials say that user-generated content on websites influences their buying decisions to some extent. Therefore, you should focus on acquiring their trust with user reviews, comments, ratings, and testimonials.
However, the best marketing medium for a brand targeting Millennials is word-of-mouth. A study by Radius Global Marketing Research identifies word-of-mouth marketing as the leading purchase influencer (top-2 box score) for Millennials. Therefore, it is essential to build a good reputation in front of customers.
Establish relationships with customers
Retaining customers as important as acquiring them and, with a target segment like Millennials, establishing brand loyalty becomes even more necessary.
Be it personal life or workspace, Millennials like building relationships with people around them. Healthy personal and professional connection leads to good interpersonal experience. That’s why Millennial customers expect the same from their preferred businesses. According to a study by TotalRetail, 45% of Millennials expect brands to engage with them and build relationships.
Feedback forms, personalised advertising mails, and/or loyalty programmes can go a long way in securing the trust of your Millennial customers.
Don’t let the “Me” Generation confuse you
Millennials feel personally accountable for the world. Needless to say that the name, the “Me” Generation, is a misnomer.
Millennials understand the concept of sustainability, inclusiveness, and diversity. They emphasise responsible consumption. Around 50% of Millennials will purchase your service if it supports a cause. That’s why they are also known as Generation Waking Up.
Build your brand, align it with social values and highlight their significance. Make customers feel good about their purchases, and they will be loyal.
Be open to change
Millennials are particularly receptive to change. Innovation and advancement appeal to them.
You need to be updated with the current developments to stay in the game. For this, you should keep track of sales, customer responses, and feedback. Stay in line with the industry trends to improve your products and marketing.
Best Examples of Marketing to Millennials
Toms is a U.S.-based company that manufactures shoes, handbags, eyewear, apparel, etc. It worked on a unique business model to appeal to people’s (especially Millennials’) sense of responsibility.
Toms decided to donate a pair of shoes to the poor in Argentina for every pair sold in the North American market. Although the company’s product was just a pair of canvas slip-on shoes, Toms received order requests for nine times the available stock in its very first year itself.
As a technology company, Uber provides diverse services like ride-hailing, food delivery, package transportation, etc. However, it started as a cab-hailing service in 2009.
Uber capitalised on the Millennial tendency to use services rather than acquire goods. Hailing cab rides saved Millennials the burden of buying a car and driving amidst all the traffic and heat. The company charmed its customers by delivering a valuable service at a low cost.
The popular content platform, started as an online DVD rental store in 1997 when the founders realised that it’s an untapped territory. What Netflix did right is that it adapted to Millennials’ changing lifestyle.
Over the years, the company has shifted from renting DVDs to streaming online videos. Besides providing meaningful content, the platform has amalgamated appealing features within itself. Its users can link their Facebook IDs to their Netflix accounts and stream movies and web series on their television. Ease of accessibility and adaptability have kept Netflix ahead in the game.