How Millennials Shaped Industry in 2019

Millennials. We’ve been talking about them for years, noticing how their buying power and generationally unique social opinions are shaping (and killing) certain industries. 

They’re born between the years of 1980 and 2000 (roughly – it depends on who you ask) and there are over 80 million millennials in the US alone. That’s as large or larger than the baby boomers (depending on who you ask).

This generation has over $10 trillion in buying power worldwide.  Let’s look at how this generation has shaped industry in 2019.

Millennials were young on the wild web. In these earlier years of the web, file sharing was the norm.

Millennials got used to getting full access to what they wanted from the web, be it illegally downloaded music or a torrented movie.

This mindset made the streaming model work very well. Virus-free, unlimited access to the music you love? All for $10 a month? That beats learning to clear the viruses off your parents’ computer.

Millennials are okay with the concept of access, not ownership. That’s clear in the rise of television streaming, music streaming, and ride sharing.

It’s estimated that the car ownership will decrease dramatically in the next 10-20 years as more and more individuals will be sharing ownership on vehicles.

According to a study by Anatomy Media, 3 out of 5 millennials use a shared password or login to stream content online.

Millennials are less inclined to buy brand names. They like generic brands, likely because of their frugal spending habits and a large amount of debt. As many as 60% of millennials prefer to purchase generic brands over name brands.

That doesn’t mean millennials won’t spend their money. They’re just more inclined to spend money on brands with causes they support (sustainable, charitable, mission-oriented organizations), or on experiences. An estimated 81% of millennials expect companies to make public commitments to charitable causes.

Along the same lines, millennials are thrifty. One of the characteristics of this generation is the massive amount of debt they owe. Collectively, millennials owe $1 trillion in student loan debt.

They know to save where they can. Maybe that’s why 30% of this age group lives with their parents and 94% use coupons.

Appeal to these buyers by running sales, offering discounts or coupons, and promoting free trials.

The older millennials were forced to defer many major life purchases and events until they were in their 30s.  As many as 34% of millennials have a bachelor’s degree or higher, the resulting debt causing them to put off getting married, having children.

But now, 40% are parents.  The average millennial salary is now 56k before taxes. But as many as 41% of millennials are delaying owning a home because of debt.

This generation grew up with digital. I was a teenager when all my friends started to get Motorola Razors, and we made the transition from palm pilots to smartphones within five years.

Meet these digital natives where they are. They’re familiar with technology and want to have interesting and unique interactions with your brand.

Millennials conduct business digitally. They make 54% of their overall purchases online. As many as 40% use online reviews and testimonials before they make a purchase.

They write the reviews too; 67% of millennials believe they have a responsibility to share feedback with companies about their experiences, and 74% would switch to a different brand if they have a bad experience.

This generation will be blocking display ads (63% of millennials said they did). Traditional, outbound marketing focuses on disruption, and that’s not an effective tactic to use on millennials.

Millennials grew up watching television ads that slowly took up more and more TV time. They grew up with flashing banner ads and obnoxious advertising.

Millennials don’t want to be interrupted; they want to be courted. They want to have a two-sided dialogue and feel like they’re getting something of value from it.

Millennial are receptive to online ads that are targeted, relevant, and unique.

On that same note, experiences are what sell to millennials. As a generation, they are more likely to share a positive customer experience than a negative one.

Millennials (3 out of 4) say they buy less stuff and more memorable experiences. Create those experience while informing and educating those millennials that are qualified to buy your offering.

At trade shows, do something different and engaging like a scavenger hunt or game. Digitally, give millennials the all-star treatment. Serve them interaction, communities, and social networking groups. Give them a space to be themselves and your marketing efforts there will be that much more effective.

Millennials that buy from you are more likely to continue to buy from you. All you have to do is win them over at the start. Take what you learned from this post and see how you can apply that knowledge to the ever-increasing number of millennial decision-makers.


Let me know what you think: 

  • What do you think the next generation will do to the industry?
  • How will Gen X and aging Baby Boomers change industry?
  • What other impacts have you seen from millennials?



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