Why Millennials Matter to Your Business

 In branding, marketing

In 2016, millennials surpassed the baby boomers, becoming the largest living generation and the largest market segment in the US workforce. Making up 25% of the US population and over 21% of the population’s discretionary consumer purchases, millennials are heavily influencing the way that brands operate, market and advertise.

Who are Millennials?

While there are no exact dates for the beginning and ending of this generation, many marketing research groups place millennials as being born between the early 80’s and the late 2000’s, while the U.S. Census Bureau defines them as being between the ages of 20-36 in 2017. There are over 75.4 million millennials in the United States— a number expected to grow as this generation makes up the largest segment of immigrants coming to the country annually. Millennials are more diverse than any of the preceding generations, with 44.2% being minorities.

Millennials do not play by the rules of their baby boomer parents or their gen-x older siblings. disrupted economy. They grew up in a disrupted economy and a dramatically more socially and technologically connected era than any other generation, as the early adopters of new technology, they are the generation of smartphones, social media, vlogging, Netflix and dating apps. They value transparency, culture, social and ethical responsibility and view money, careers, and lifestyle very differently than the preceding generations.

Tech-Savvy & Connected

Nearly half of all millennials reported having over 200 friends on Facebook, compared to 19% of non-millennials. They are 2.5x more likely to be an early adopter of technology than non-millennials and 46% of millennials create and post original photos or video online.

The Millennial Household

According to Pew Research, millennials are more likely to be living with their parents than in a household shared with a spouse or partner. However, it is projected that millennials will form 20 million new households by 2025. Most millennials would prefer owning a home to renting, but they are perceived to finding difficulties in affording it. 1 in 4 millennials are parents, with 53% of millennial households have children.

The Millennial Income

Millennials make approximately 20% less than their parents did at their age, but there are over 6.2 million millennials households reporting an annual income of over $100,000— with 64% of these affluent millennials being female.

Political Views 

Millennials are the most liberal generation in the modern era, partly believed to be due to their upbringing being marked by an increase in a liberal approach to politics and economics. Millennials do, however, tend to get more conservative when as their income grows.

The Health-Minded Generation

Millennials are exercising more and eating better than prior generations. They use apps to track fitness data and use the internet to research the healthiest foods. This is another area they are willing to spend more money on compelling brands.

Buying Patterns

Millennials social and technological connectedness is reshaping the marketplace. 57% of millennials use their phones to compare prices in store. With easy access to customer and product reviews, price comparisons and unboxing videos, millennials are looking for the highest level of quality and convenience at the lowest price— unless the product or service supports a worthy cause, in which case 37% of millennials would be willing to spend more.

Word of mouth counts for much as well as millennials tend to ask friends for opinions before making purchase decisions.

Brand Perception 

Millennials value brands that are honest, ethical and open. They look for products and services that enhance their lives. 80% of millennials want brands to entertain them, and 40% want to participate in the co-creation of the brand. They feel a strong responsibility to share feedback with companies after a positive or negative experience.

The Millennial in Business

According to a recent article by Forbes, some of the greatest and most profitable businesses today are owned by decision makers younger than 36. Additionally, millennials are launching businesses earlier than their predecessors (at an average of 27 compared to 35 for baby boomers). They are also growing at nearly twice the rate.

Why This Matters to Your Marketing

With such uniquely different qualities, preferences and expectations than previous generations, millennials will challenge stale marketing tactics, impersonal branding or subpar customer service. They want to be heard, they want to trust you and they want to make your brand a part of their life journey experience.



Richard EnsleyRichard Ensley is the founder of Detroit-based Priest & King, a brand strategy consultancy focused on clarifying brand messaging to attract customers.

Connect with Richard on LinkedIn for daily insights, tips, and hacks to grow your business.


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