Have you heard enough about Millennials? If you immediately answered yes, we’re right there with you…but not so fast.
First we glorified them. Then we demonized them. Now it’s time to appreciate them for the influential force they are.
No new news: Millennials are the take-the-bull-by-the-horns, build-a-better-mousetrap generation. Empowered by generous praise and you-can-do-anything encouragement from their Boomer parents, a challenging job market propelled them to explore alternatives.
With technology at their fingertips, this demographic has radically transformed the business environment. Instant media darlings, Millennials have been the subject of extensive study and discussion, gaining notoriety for an innovative and often aggravating worldview.
We suggest the greatest legacy of the Millennial gen may be its demo-destroying superpower. Regardless of motivation, there is evidence that consumers of all ages are picking up the tricks and traits that make this MVP demographic so interesting.
Here is a quick look at how the Millennial generation has taken its place in the cultural conversation leaving an indelible mark on its generational neighbors, most particularly Boomer and Z.
Boomers’ Millennial-esque attitudes are a result of the close relationships they share with their Millennial children and colleagues. They have embraced next-gen lifestyle and career goals, and they remain in awe of Millennial technical know-how.
Social Media Adaption
Hand-me-down social media platforms have introduced the older generation to social media and now they are hooked. Millennials gave Facebook to their Boomer parents on a silver platter.
Watching their Millennial children follow their passions to pursue careers or start businesses made an impression on the Boomer generation. Finding themselves in the workplace longer than expected, Boomers are discovering passion projects and making career pivots.
Boomers are gravitating to cities for myriad reasons — closer to their Millennial children, culture and cuisine, walkability, easy commutes for longer career spans, diversity — the same sentiments attracting the Millennial city dweller.
Experience Over Acquisition
Millennials’ interest in experiences and subsequent lack of interest in logos and status has shamed the once ostentation-obsessed Boomer. The Boomers’ relationship with luxury has matured. Still interested in high-end brands, Boomers look for a more meaningful interaction with brands through valuable shopping experiences and dedicated customer service.
Gen Z-Millennial Mapping
As older Millennials become parents (a whole other topic of investigation for TOBE), Gen Zs move in as a souped-up version of their predecessors, carrying the torch for Millennial core values and behaviors, but with the backdrop of their Gen X parents’ pragmatic and principled ways.
Conscientiousness Is Cool
Not an add-on or an option, businesses that want to do business with Gen Z better be doing some good. Corporate responsibility is built into their DNA just like that of their
Witnessing the success of the generation preceding them, Gen Z will feel compelled to start and sell a business (or two) of their own before graduating from college, if not high school.
Entertainment End Around
The Millennials started it but Gen Z will finish it. Anywhere, anytime entertainment will run its final play against network TV as Gen Z kicks the cable addiction for good in favor of streaming video, apps and virtual reality.
Authenticity has been the Millennial mantra, but as younger consumers understand the marketing angle of authenticity, a new standard will emerge. The only way to describe what’s coming next is Authentic Authenticity. It will have to be in the very fiber of a brand or business for Gen Z.
The numbers don’t change; a demographic of this size will continue to hold significant sway. It’s worth mentioning a few more Millennial
lessons we expect to influence all consumers.
One and Onlys
Millennials love digging around for vintage items and anything they can find that they will be the only one to have. By extension, they also love niche and small batch over mass-produced. Ditto for entertainment, food and travel.
The Tip: Unique and special items and experiences will be contagious.
This gen likes a little more lived-in feel in environment and product than previous generations might have. Bonus points if they can rough it up themselves — cutting, patching, tattooing or coloring.
The Tip: Consider make-it-your-own options.
Value Trumps Disposability
Not big spenders, Millennials are very cautious with their money. That said, raised on fast fashion, they are not prepared to pay up for investment purchases. They insist on a subjective definition of value — good quality for a fair price.
The Tip: There’s a new (old) value equation.
The Millennial generation is decidedly multi-sensory. At its simplest, they have re-imagined food and beverage. Audio solutions are on the uptick and synesthesia-driven art and entertainment enthrall.
The Tip: Roll-call those senses as you develop product and services.
Is the Pan-Consumer the New Demographic to Chase?
Expect consumer behavior to continue to transcend age range, birth order or gen-designated definers. We see an uber-demographic that’s faster, smarter, more worldly, more cultured and better-informed, not to mention in control of the conversation. Get prepared for an homogenized consumer atmosphere.
Millennial Change Agents
- Pioneered social media. (Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest)
- Pioneered social media. (Airbnb)
- Given retail a run for its money. (Birchbox, Rent The Runway)
- Made cash obsolete. (Venmo)
- Revolutionized the fitness landscape. (Classpass)
- Resuscitated the food industry. (ByChloe, Blue Apron)
- Hijacked the media. (Mashable, Refinery29)
- Challenged the luxury sector. (Mansur Graviel)
- Upended transportation. (Lyft)