Business trends & research roundup: millennial customers

Editorial Team

3 min read
Millennials spelled in Scrabble tiles

What are the experts, surveys and latest research reports saying about appealing to and retaining millennial customers? Welcome to our monthly roundup of research small businesses can use to do business better.

Who are millennials?

  • Millennials are now the biggest generation in the U.S., making up more than a quarter of the population. They’re already a big force in consumer spending, and their purchasing power will only grow: about $30 trillion will transfer from Baby Boomers to Gen X and Millennials in the next 10 to 40 years. Edelman’s 2016 Millennials and Money report
  • Millennials put a high value on having a balanced, healthy lifestyle. They want to understand the companies they’re buying from, and they are willing to pay a premium for products that are sustainable, healthy, and have a positive social impact. Nielsen: The Keys to Unlocking the Millennial Mindset
  • Millennials are overwhelmingly progressive on social issues. They resist being forced to categorize themselves by things like race, gender, or sexual orientation.

How millennials spend

  • Millennials spend more on eating outside the home than previous generations, but less on clothes and entertainment. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • They value experience more than accumulating stuff. That’s one of the reasons they love to travel–and they’re willing to spend on ‘treats’ and impulse buys when they’re traveling. Nielsen: Millennial Travelers Take Off to Shop
  • Millennials who engage with a brand are more loyal and more profitable than other customers–but they’re hard to win over. They’re just as likely to bad-mouth a brand as they are to sing its praises. A good digital experience is key to winning their loyalty, but you’ve got to back that website up with a great overall experience.

Millennials as parents

  • A million millennial women become moms every year. They’ve waited longer than previous generations to have kids, and being parents is very important to them. About 60% of millennials say that “having children is central to their identity.” Pew Research Center
  • Hipsters—college-educated millennials in urban areas—tend to spend more on themselves, while millennials who are parents tend to spend more on other people. They’re also more likely than other consumers to make donations to causes they care about. PricewaterhouseCooper: 2016 Holiday Outlook
  • Millennial moms are more likely than other shoppers to comparison-shop, use coupons, look for sales, and find other ways to save money. Still, they’re not above a splurge: they’re equally likely to trade down to a cheaper brand and to ‘trade up’ to a pricier option. Most millennial women are increasingly using coupons and loyalty cards, but millennial men aren’t as likely to use these savvy shopping tools. McKinsey & Company

Get ready for Gen Z

  • As millennials are becoming parents, the next generation of young consumers is already making their presence felt: Gen Z. They’re still young—many of them still get their spending money in the form of an allowance—but they already have an impact on buying decisions, particularly food and clothing. They’re digital natives, but they still mostly prefer to shop in stores, and they care a lot about the retail basics: getting good value for their money, having the items they want in stock, and so on. National Retail Federation: Uniquely Gen Z
[image: Millennials by Elizabeth Hahn on flickr]
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