Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are today’s largest living generation with a population totaling 92 million. In comparison to previous generations, this early to mid-adult group is notorious for its adoption of new technology and rejection of traditional advertising.
Unlike native internet users (Gen Z) or those of the Generation Y generation who grew up with television and print advertising, Millennials have a leg in both worlds. As such, they’re known for being extremely difficult to market to.
Global millennial spending power is expected to grow to $3.3 trillion this year, meaning Generation Y or Millennials is an essential demographic for brands of all types to reach. In the following post, we’ll define what a millennial is, outline the four characteristics unique to the millennial generation, and provide tips for successfully marketing to Millennials, a financially empowered demographic\.
Generational divisions aren’t exact but according to Pew Research Center, Millennials — aka Generation Y — are people between the ages of 21 and 36 and born between 1981-1996. Gen X is the group immediately preceding Generation Y and is generally thought to include those born between 1965-1980. Gen Z follows Generation Y and includes those born in the late 1990s-mid 2000s.
1. Millennials are collaborative and heavily influenced by peers
Compared to previous generations, Millennials are especially collaborative and dependent upon peers, frequently turning to online networks for advice or guidance on purchases/decisions. This is reflected both in the rise of open and collaborative office environments and Millennials’ comfortability with mobile technology. 69% of Millennials prefer flexible work schedules and like the option to work at any time, anywhere.
2. Millennials love to travel
Apart from their desire to collaborate, Millennials are distinguishable from other generations based on their interest in travel. According to Nielsen, Millennials travel more than any other generation. In a survey, 70% of Millennials agreed that “Visiting every continent in my lifetime would be an achievement, and is something I’d like to do.”
By 2025 Generation Y is expected to account for 75% of the global workforce. Although many Millennials are working professionals they’re finding time to travel. In comparison, members of Gen X who make up a growing population of retirees with increased free time are traveling less.
Related Post: How Top Travel Instagrammers Are Shaping Our Wanderlust
3. Millennials are wellness-focused
In addition to travel, Millennials are also wellness fanatics. 60% work out on a regular basis and 73% say physical appearance is important to them. Millennials also smoke less, exercise more, and eat healthier than any prior generation.
Their interest in wellness is particularly demonstrated by their spending habits. Goldman Sachs monitored millennial purchasing behavior between 2008 and 2013 and found that as total millennial spending on apparel and footwear has dropped, millennial purchases of athletic apparel and footwear has increased.
4. Millennial shoppers prioritize discounts over all else
To put it plainly, Millennials are incredibly savvy shoppers. Though two-thirds prefer to shop digitally rather than in a physical store, many choose to research products online as they browse in-person. A millennial’s desire to pay less for a product also trumps his/her loyalty to a brand. In a survey, 60% of Millennials said they would buy a generic brand on sale over the brand they usually buy. Furthermore, 56% said they would switch brands to use a coupon.
The lack of brand loyalty Millennials exhibit presents businesses with a unique challenge, especially as more Millennials join the workforce and amass disposable incomes.
Compared to older and younger generations, Millennials are unique in that they grew up during the explosion of the internet. Before the birth of Millennials, Gen X was present for the computer revolution. When Gen Z arrived, the internet had already become a staple of modern life.
As they’ve come of age, Millennials have adapted to mobile devices, WiFi, cellular data, and on-demand media. Millennials are enthusiastic tech adopters and heavy social media users. Millennials prefer YouTube nearly 2x as much as traditional TV and make up over half of U.S. Twitter users.
Millennials also maintain significantly larger online social networks than previous generations. A study found that the majority of Americans between the ages of 35-75 have 51-100 Facebook friends. Millennials have double to 10x more (201-500 Facebook friends).
How Do Millennials Use Social Media?
Millennials use social platforms for more than catching up with loved ones and friends. Overwhelmingly, this group takes to social to learn, create content, and interact with brands.
For Millennials, YouTube in particular is utilized as a learning tool. 70% of millennial YouTube users have used YouTube to learn something new in the past year. Millennials are also 2.7x as likely to prefer learning something new by watching a YouTube video than reading a book.
Millennials aren’t merely consumers of social media content. 60% produce and upload online content, whether photos, videos, blog posts, or more. Nearly a third have their own website.
Generation Y also uses social media as a place to connect with brands. 50% agree with the statement “I like checking out brands on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.” Perhaps more importantly, Millennials respond positively brand participation via social media. 75% of millennial parents are open to branded YouTube videos when seeking guidance on parent topics. A third of Millennials also report that they like a brand more when it uses social media.
1. Ditch traditional advertising for social media
To put it bluntly, Millennials don’t respond to traditional advertising but do spend an enormous amount of time on social media. Brands should, therefore, trade traditional advertising (print, television, etc.) and reach Millennials where they spend time. Only 6% of Millennials feel online advertising is effective, however, 75% of Millennials who are parents respond positively to YouTube videos made by brands.
Evidently, brands should not only connect with Millennials on social media where they spend over two hours a day, they should do so in accordance with the ways Millennials use social media. Millennials leverage social media as a tool for learning. If a brand can offer value in the form of knowledge and applicable information, Millennials may be more likely to choose their business.
2. Employ cause marketing
A brand’s affiliation with a cause is more important to Millennials than older generations. 55% of Generation Y tries to buy products from companies that support causes they care about and nearly 50% are willing to purchase from a company if it supports a cause. To win and retain millennial customers, brands should clearly align themselves with a cause, whether social or environmental and employ cause marketing.
To reach Millennials cause marketing is not only essential, digital cause marketing reigns supreme. Reflective of the time Millennials spend on social, studies have found that Generation Y is more aware of digital cause marketing campaigns than older generations. 44% of Millennials were aware of Yoplait’s Save Lids campaign, compared to only 37% of non-Millennials.
3. Implement influencer marketing
Millennials may hate traditional advertising but they’re extremely receptive to social media influencers. In a study, 40% said they connect more with YouTubers than their friends. As such, brands should leverage influencer marketing as a highly effective way to earn millennial business.
Millennials have also demonstrated a preference for social media influencers over celebrities. In a recent study, 78% of Millennials either reported a negative or indifferent view towards celebrity endorsements.
If that wasn’t enough, only 21% agreed or somewhat agreed that they would be more willing to purchase a product/service if a celebrity endorsed it. To successfully reach Millennials via social media, marketers should not only execute influencer marketing but consider finding and partnering with the right influencers for longer-term partnerships, creative integrations, or brand ambassadorships.
Related Post: The 16 Biggest Benefits Of Influencer Marketing
4. Showcase customer reviews
Millennials preference for collaboration applies not only to their work but to their shopping habits. Those born between 1981-1996 are more likely to purchase from a brand if they can refer to customer reviews before making a purchase. In fact, nearly 40% refer to consumer online reviews and blogs when making a purchasing decision.
Compared to baby boomers, Millennials are three times more likely to visit social channels to gather opinions about products they should buy. Brands should leverage the power of consumer sentiment by making customer reviews easy to find on their websites and social media channels. Brands should also consider collaborating with social media influencers to produce product reviews.
Related Post: The Top 10 Creators Doing YouTube Product Reviews