As a millennial myself, I’ve been rather intrigued by the recent eruption of articles revolving around millennials . I am rather amused by the irony of this considering how many of them criticize us as the “Me me me generation,” yet we are being given reason to be somewhat narcissistic considering how much we’re being talked about. There is a love/hate relationship between the media and millennials as articles simultaneously urge marketers to target millennials, recommend that businesses hire them, yet also critique them as “lazy” or “entitled.” Our generation is rapidly rising as the focus of a multitude of studies, with topics ranging from millennials as managers and the negative associations allocated to these youthful “persons in power” to providing advice that financial advertisers should market to millennials. However, regardless of the constant contradictions in the opinions and advice surrounding this controversial demographic, the statistics cannot be ignored that we are in fact the generation to look out for.

Stats Support Us….So Self-Absorbed? So What!

I realize that this blog post in itself is somewhat self-indulgent as I am in fact writing about my own generation’s marketing power, but at the end of the day even if we are as a generation self-absorbed, we do indeed have the stats to support that we are an important demographic. Here are some to name a few:

  • Social Media Marketing: Millennials spend 8 hours a week on social media, which is more than any other generation. 93% of millennials use the Internet, the highest percentage out of any purchasing demographic, and 84% of millennials are social media users (with millennials also comprising over half of US Twitter users). Therefore in terms of social media marketing, they are your audience most likely to see the content you are putting out there. In addition, millennials don’t trust sponsored advertising, as supported by a stat that 67% of millennials report that they have never clicked on a sponsored story so your social media marketing efforts are all the more important, as creative brand advocates will be your route to success, especially since 95% of millennials DO say that friends are the most credible source of product information, therefore they’re who you want to target. If you’re not tapping into video marketing as part of this social media strategy, DO IT! YouTube reaches more millennials than any cable network: utilize a platform that reaches the masses (and more importantly the millennial masses).

  • Purchasing Power: It is estimated that by 2020, 30% of all retail sales will be to millennials. We have the “purchasing power” and big brands such as McDonald’s, Budweiser, and Macy’s are beginning to tap into this. “Millennials, that giant generation of young people, 17 to 34 years old, make up a major consumer group — 77.5 million strong, with $1.7 billion in spending power (so far)” which means a lot of money to be made from our demographic. We are the largest generation alive today, making up 1.8 billion of the world’s population, so in sheer numbers alone we have massive market potential. In addition, we simply just “love to shop,” more so than other adult demographics (58% of consumers 18-33, versus 40% of adults overall). We DO however purchase less frequently, which supports the concept that we are a more difficult target market (i.e. harder to please). Millennials like to make you work for your money, and because of our typical economic status, we are “driven by deals,” which also helps create customer loyalty.
  • Going Mobile: The terms “millennial” and “mobile” go hand in hand, seeing as millennials are rarely seen without a mobile device in their hands. 95.2% of millennials will be mobile phone owners by the end of 2013 and are more likely than the general population to shop or obtain deals through digital and mobile methods. Millennial mobile usage is 14% higher than older consumer demographics and are the most likely demographic to share deals (9 out of 10), and do so via mobile (texting) and social media. In the last two years the number of people accessing the Internet via mobile device has increased by over 50%, so you can only imagine (between the stats on millennial Internet, social media, and mobile usage) how many of those users are millennials. Therefore your marketing strategy for millennials clearly needs to have a mobile element to it as well. SoLoMo marketing is trending, and since 40% of millennials like to shop local, an integrated mobile marketing strategy is key.

Gen Y…Not So Generic


“Millennials are your most important customers right now – and will be for years to come” so how are you going to reach us? We are a generation defined by our elusive nature, desiring a full consumer experience (we are a consumerist culture after all). We have come to expect a superior level of customer service, with brands responding faster than ever on social media sites such as Twitter; we want a connection to the brands we associate ourselves with, especially if we’re going to visibly display that we “Like” them on a social network like Facebook; we respond to superficial successes like going viral; we want to be part of “the next big thing” and expect you to court us if we’re going to help you achieve that status. Yes, we hold businesses and brands to a high standard, and why shouldn’t we? We’ve gotten the short end of the stick in a lot of areas – entry level job options and salaries have diminished and almost virtually disappeared, we often have to live at home for longer after graduation because of this, and overall we are a somewhat detached culture (despite being the most digitally connected) with increasingly limited attention spans due to the bombardment of technological advances we have experienced throughout our lifetime. Therefore, we at least expect that what we are spending our money on (the little we are making) be worth our while.

Call us selfish, narcissistic, or whatever you like, but at the end of the day we ARE still the demographic you need to succeed. As shopping, marketing, advertising, television, media – basically everything is turning digital/mobile to tailor to our tech-savvy needs, you need to keep up with the trend, or become irrelevant. These may be some harsh words, but I’m a millennial so I’m egotistical enough to be confident I’ll get away with it. 😉

By Jessica Spar