Welcome to 2016!
This is the year the Millennial consumer comes of age, with a projected 200 billion in annual purchasing power. Even Forbes magazine called it back in November 2015, saying “(Millennials are) a highly influential population that influences the buying decisions of other demographic cohorts…it’s time to put away any residual snark and learn to understand these youthful customers if you’re going to be able to create a millennial-friendly sales, customer experience and customer service approach.”
We’ve gone from “Millennials matter” to “Millennials matter most”. Their habits, behaviors and expectations are redefining how we consume, discover and engage; from product designs to smart cities. The passion economy is a real thing. Hear that mom and dad? Millennials are no longer the stereotype of the underemployed, ramen-eating slacker living in your basement. Instead, they are hard at work forging identities as innovative workers, hungry for new challenges and the desire to create a lasting impact on the world around them.
Companies have finally taken notice too — Millennials are the largest generation in history, outstripping even the Boomer generation, with a powerful quarter share of the entire population and growing. That’s 80 million millennials in America alone! And not only are they the largest generation to date, they are the most diverse generation with an unprecedented level of connection to and engagement with the world around themselves.
To become a brand leader within the Millennial market, companies need to hit these three key points:
This is the generation that eats, sleeps and breathes technology. They use multiple tech devices and are connected and engaged on social media with both each other and the brands they buy. According to one study, Millennials check their mobile devices 43 times a day on average. This impulse has led to the rise of what Google calls the “micro-moment.” Customers rely on their smartphones now more than ever to help find information and make decisions.
Being the most diverse generation to date, Millennial shoppers crave interactions that are relevant to their personal experience. More than 70% of consumers expect some type of personalization from the brands they interact with — from remembering how long someone who has been a customer and their past purchases to reward loyalty programs. Millennial consumers are more likely to provide personal information to a company when provided an interaction tailored to their wants and needs.
Authenticity is one of those difficult-to-define terms, yet we all know it when we see it. Especially the Millennial generation, “(they) have grown up with an overwhelming amount of marketing messages and have a finely tuned radar for marketing-speak(,)” says, Tony Uphoff, CEO of Business.com. Millennials expect brands to not only engage with them on social networking platforms, but to make them a part of the creation process. Millennials want brands to “stand for something” and to reflect those values in their actions.