Today, Millennials — aka Generation Y — make up the world’s largest living generation. Though there’s no hard or fast rule, this group is generally understood to be comprised of those born between 1981 and 1996 and are now between 22 and 37-years-old.
Many have speculated whether Generation Y can be divided into two separate sub-generations: old and young Millennials. Here we’ll examine the intergenerational differences between the old (30-37 years-old) and the young (22-29 year-olds). We’ll also offer insights into how these differences impact the way both groups should be marketed to.
The life experiences of a 22-year-old and a 37-year-old are markedly different. A person in their early twenties is likely just starting their professional career, whereas an individual in their thirties is usually professionally established and may even have a family. Not only are young and old Millennials at significantly different points in their lives today, both experienced notable historical events at different life stages. Learn how to market to old Millennials vs young Millennials effectively by reading on below.
Old Millennials are those born around 1988 or earlier. This older half of Generation Y is between 30 and 37-years-old and is situated steadily in adulthood. Many are homeowners, parents, and established professionals. Some call themselves Xennials, which refers to those who are the oldest Millennials or youngest members of Gen X.
On the other end of the spectrum are young Millennials; those born around 1989 or later and between 22-29-years-old today. Unlike old Millennials, many members of this younger subgroup are either starting their careers or beginning to establish themselves professionally. The majority have yet to accumulate the economic wealth of their older counterparts.
1. Spending Power And Attitudes Towards Money
On the whole, old Millennials have greater spending power than young Millennials. This can be largely attributed to their time spent in the workforce (many have been working for more than a decade). Compared to young Millennials, older members of Generation Y have had more time to accumulate economic wealth and eliminate financial burdens like student loans.
Studies have found that old Millennials spend more money than young Millennials. Households headed by 25-34-year-olds spend an average of $49,547 each year, compared to the $32,179 spent by households headed by those under 25. In regards to what old and young Millennials spend money on, old Millennials spend more on products like furniture ($304 vs. $426), healthcare ($1,103 vs. $2,659), pets ($158 vs. $441), and entertainment ($1,319 vs. $2,418).
Apart from their spending habits, old and young Millennials also differ in regards to their attitudes towards money. A study found that young Millennials tend to be more fiscally responsible than old Millennials, evidenced by the fact that 75% of young Millennials report they’d rather save money then spend it.
2. Likelihood Of Being Parents
Largely as a result of their age, old Millennials are more likely than younger Millennials to be parents. The likelihood of old Millennials to be parents may affect the money they’re willing to spend and the products and services they choose to buy. On the whole, Millennials are waiting longer to have children compared to older generations. In 2016, 48% of millennial women (ages 20-35) were moms. In 2000, 57% of Gen X women of the same age were moms.
3. Outlook On Professional Life
Researchers have asserted that the 2008 financial crisis profoundly affected young and old Millennials in differing ways. Young members of Generation Y experienced the recession as early adolescents before starting their careers. Additionally, many witnessed their parents and family members lose jobs. Many have associated this life experience with young Millennials’ highly practical outlook on professional life.
Social psychologist Jean Twenge contends that younger Millennials are attracted to industries with steady work and compared to older Millennials are more willing to work overtime. Comparably, old Millennials, who experienced the crisis at a later stage in identity development, hold more idealistic views on work and work-life balance.
4. Social Media Habits
Similar to their experience of the 2008 financial crisis, old and young Millennials experienced the rise of smartphones at uniquely different life stages. The first iPhone was released in 2007, meaning young Millennials were inundated with smartphones and constant connection while early adolescents. Conversely, old Millennials began using smart phones in their twenties.
A survey found that old and young Millennials spend roughly the same amount of time on social media but view social platforms differently. On a scale of one to five, 37% of older Millennials strongly agree with the statement, “My friends don’t need to see me to know what’s going on in my life, I post everything online,” compared to only 20% of younger Millennials. Evidently, both young and Millennials dedicate considerable time to social, yet old Millennials may view social platforms more reverently.
Young Millennials are also more careful than old Millennials when it comes to the information they share online. 75% of young Millennials vs. 53% of old Millennials report they’re unlikely to give away personal information like their birth date, address, or social media profile.
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1. Be conscious of the differences in old and young millennial spending power.
The global spending power of all Millennials is expected to grow to $3.3 trillion this year. Nevertheless, young Millennials do have less spending power than old Millennials and exhibit a particular propensity for saving money. Marketers should consider appealing to young Millennials by way of discounts and deals and be mindful of the financial burdens that are new for young Millennials and familiar to old Millennials, namely student loans.
2. Market to millennial parents by teaching them.
Millennials are waiting longer to have children and as such old Millennials are more likely than young Millennials to have children. Interestingly, millennial parents, especially dads, look to social media for parenting guidance. Specifically, 86% of millennial dads turn to YouTube to learn how to prepare meals and assemble children’s gear. If brands can insert themselves into parental learning experiences on social media, they may have unique success in reaching old Millennials that are new parents.
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Related Post: The 7 Best YouTube Channels For Learning
3. Market to old and young Millennials using influencer marketing.
Across the board, Millennials appear to disregard traditional advertising but respond incredibly positively to social media influences. In a study, 40% of Millennials said they connect with YouTubers more than their friends. Brands should therefore consider trading traditional advertising channels (print, television, etc.) for influencer marketing to successfully reach both old and young Millennials. This may particularly effective given the amount of time both subgroups devote to social media.