“Millennials are poised to reshape the economy; their unique experiences will change the ways we buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come.”
– Goldman Sachs
It’s not a secret that we’re in a major time of acceleration as a society at large. After each major advance in technology, comes a major advance in industry which in turn, dramatically affects the way we see and do things.
Understandably so, new ways of doing things not only opens new avenues of opportunity, it also leaves a lot of questions, and room for improvement. Also, along with it each social, cultural and industrial shift has a generation that evolves with it. And today, the generation that’s got all eyes on them are: Millennials.
In some of our projects, you may have heard Millennials used as a target group, thus to give more background information and guide your ideas in the right direction, here are some major trends that will help inspire Millennial-focused ideas and concepts.
What are Millennials?
As the name entails, millennials are the generation born roughly from 1980 to 2000, who quite literally were “coming of age” while Y2K was imposing its imminent, yet harmless threat and the calendar year turned to 2000.
Why are Millennials important?
- One reason Millennials are so important are simply because, there are a lot of them:
They are the largest generation of the 20th century. In the US Millennials have surpassed the Baby Boomers and are the largest living generation* and in the 28-member European Union Millennials accounted for 24% of the adult population in 2013.*
- Besides the sheer number of them, they are the first completely connected and digital native generation.
87% of Millennials use between two and three tech devices at least once on a daily basis- and fewer than 3% of millennials rank TV news, magazines and books (traditional media sources) as influencing their purchases.* Therefore, these major changes in behaviour changes make major changes in the way this generation consumes.
By 2017 Millennials, the largest segment of the population, will be in or approaching their prime spending age, so it’s no wonder brands want to detect trends and learn how to reach them.****
What are major trends we can expect from Millennials?
More than ever, Millennials are more likely to evaluate a product, where it comes from and how it was made before making their purchase. They are well informed and value-driven consumers. Interested in a social & environmental good, as well as their personal health and well-being, Millennials are more critical consumers than any generation before.
Strategy: Think about how to include socially, environmentally and health-responsible trends into your products and business concepts.
Access & Flexibility
Partially reflecting their consumer conscious values, and partially reflecting the effect of an economic recession (and student loan debt in the US) Millennials appreciate access, with flexibility (without the burden of ownership & spatial limitation). Services like drivenow and Airbnb allow its users to access a car or an apartment without owning one. Digitalisation leverages location & access to these luxuries to create new opportunities for the masses. Uber not only allows people to see the nearest taxi and order it per app- it also allows every driver to become a driver when they want with their own car.
Strategy: How can being digitally connected change the shape of a business? How could widespread access to the brand- as well as the consumer front change the way we think about distribution and consumption?
Social Proof & Authenticity
Millennials look to their peer group and beyond for answers. Product reviews, proof of use (such as unpacking videos) and social status (how many followers or likes a brand has) are powerful tools when gaining the attention of a digital native. Also, the days of complaint letters and 1-800 lines are limited, social media gives customers the chance to publicly broadcast their questions, opinions and complaints, so brands better be ready to publicly react on all fronts.
Strategy: User created content is the most convincing type of advertising. Creating an outlet, or a type of community around your products is a proactive way to reach out and interact with a target group.
Participation & Service Experience
Participation not only means being listened to, it means taking part in the brand. After generations of mass production Millennials are looking for a more personalised and experience based service.
Strategy: Can a brand make decisions based on its customers or can they even have a share in the company? Or how can a brand create a personal experience for its customers?
We hope that this helps you better understand the mysterious and much-debated generation of Millennials. One last tip, as I’m sure many of you are Millennials yourself (myself include) I would recommend thinking about your own values, and what you would like to see from top brands today. What are new possibilities, or how could you push the limits of your favorite products?