What makes a millennial?
As the largest generational class in the US today, the millennials are in the driver’s seat in terms of dictating products, services, trends and outcomes. It is worth noting that a consistent age range to define millennials is hard to find. But, generally, people born between 1981 and 2004 encompass the generation.
While one size does not fit all, there are some commonalities. Because millennials grew up with technological change, globalization and economic disruption, they have a new and unique set of experiences and behaviors. They are the most ethnically diverse generation. They are highly educated and tend to be confident, which some say spills over into entitled.
Because of their early connection to technology, millennials are the most online-driven, engaged consumer the marketplace has ever encountered. As noted by a report from Elite Daily, a web-based media company, nearly 90% of millennials use multiple communication devices daily. Roughly half use social media or other Internet-based venues to make buying decisions, and only 1% say they are influenced by advertising.
A study by CrowdTwist, a New York-based, customer-data, brand-loyalty consulting firm, revealed that millennials are extremely loyal (50.5%) to their favorite brands. But brand loyalty means something different with these consumers than with past generations.
“They like smaller brands, artisan brands. They want products or brands that fit their own values,” says Mary Shelman, president of Shelman Group and former Harvard Business School consumer researcher. “So, they look for companies or products with attributes or behaviors that align with their beliefs.”
She points out that 37% of millennials report they purchase a product because of a “cause,” even if they have to pay more for it. More sobering, 42% say they don’t trust big food companies or big-name brands.