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US Marketing to Millennials market report

The often analyzed Millennial generation spans the ages of 22-39 in 2016. This group is the largest generation, making-up a quarter of the US population, roughly 77 million people. Additionally, they are nearing their prime earning and spending years, making them a crucial audience for marketers in nearly all categories.

Although this generational group spans nearly two decades, making it hard to understand what a “typical” Millennial looks like, hallmarks of this group include their support of social change, including racial diversity in the US, and changing family dynamics; their penchant for selective spending in which they will scrimp in some areas only to splurge on others; and their reliance on technology countered by an equally compelling desire to “switch-off.”

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

          • Figure 1: Births in the US (millions), Mintel generational cut-offs, 1930-2015 
        • The issues
          • Sharing economy is still niche – even among Millennials
            • Figure 2: Sharing/gig economy participation, Millennials indexed to average, March 2017
          • Millennials are confident, but not experts
            • Figure 3: Adult behaviors – select items, by generation, March 2017
          • Millennials more optimistic about issues within their sphere of influence
            • Figure 4: Millennial attitudes about life, March 2017
          • The opportunities
            • You can take their Tinder, but you’ll never take their Netflix
              • Figure 5: “Must have” online services, Millennials indexed to average, March 2017
            • Millennials show an expanded use of social media
              • Figure 6: Millennials’ opinions on social media, Millennials indexed to average, March 2017
            • Millennials provide testing ground for new trends
              • Figure 7: Trends that have a positive impact on Millennials, Millennials indexed to average, March 2017
            • What it means
            • The Millennial Market – What You Need to Know

              • Millennials make up a quarter of the US population
                • Unmarried Millennials are pairing up with friends and partners
                  • Most Older Millennials are starting families
                    • Millennials value education
                      • Some may face financial strain
                      • The Millennial Generation by the Numbers

                        • Millennials are the largest US generation
                          • Figure 8: Share of US population, by generation, 2012-2022 
                        • Millennials influenced by a diverse population
                          • Figure 9: Generations, by race and Hispanic origin, 2017
                        • Millennial living arrangements
                          • Figure 10: Living arrangements among adults aged 18 to 34: 1975 and 2016
                        • Asian Millennials most likely to be living with spouse
                          • Figure 11: Living arrangements of young adults aged 18-34, by race, 2016
                        • Majority of older Millennials are parents
                          • Figure 12: Households with own children under age 18, by age of householder, 2016
                      • Millennial Characteristics

                        • Education is a key Millennial milestone
                          • Figure 13: Milestones of adulthood, 2012
                        • Millennial women have made substantial economic gains
                          • Figure 14: Economic and educational characteristics of young adults aged 25-34, 1975 and 2016
                        • Budgets may be stretched
                          • Figure 15: Current financial situation, Millennials vs all, December 2016
                      • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                        • Brands fight through the clutter with a political message
                          • Millennials accelerate adoption of new technologies
                            • Traditional cable news still appeals to some Millennials
                              • Millennials reach milestones
                                • Luxury is being redefined
                                  • Turning Millennial passion into action
                                  • What’s Working?

                                    • Brands take a direct approach
                                      • Figure 16: Heineken | Worlds Apart | #OpenYourWorld, April 2017
                                      • Figure 17: Your Brain on Drug Policy | Rachael Leigh Cook, April2017
                                      • Figure 18: Audible Oscars Commercial: Zachary Quinto – “1984,” February 2017
                                      • Figure 19: WARNING: We’re Saving Small Talk | The Weather Channel, April 2017
                                      • Figure 20: Are you afraid of flying? | Royal Jordanian Airlines, April 2017
                                    • Millennials empty their wallets
                                      • Figure 21: Attitudes toward financial trends, by generation, January 2017
                                    • Making good use of flexible work arrangements
                                      • Cable news attracts a younger audience
                                        • Millennials drive competition in the ride-sharing space
                                          • Figure 22: Ride sharing frequency, usage by generation, December 2016
                                      • What’s Struggling?

                                        • Millennials face the rising costs of parenting
                                          • Traditional brands may not find favor with the younger crowd
                                            • Figure 23: Card Benefits from Chase, Loyalty email, April 2017
                                            • Figure 24: American Express, Loyalty email, April 2017
                                          • Millennials may be passionate, but inactive
                                            • Millennials rely on disposable furniture
                                              • Figure 25: VCF – Boss of the Bedroom, April 2017
                                          • What’s Next?

                                            • Millennials enroll in “adulting” classes to fill in knowledge gaps
                                              • Millennials in the market for homes
                                                • The new luxury consumer
                                                  • Figure 26: Grow up. Trailer – Mercedes-Benz original, March 2017
                                                  • Figure 27: #OpenTheNow – Epic Ping Pong with Roger Federer - Moët & Chandon, November 2015
                                                • Fintech attracts young investors
                                                  • Figure 28: Wealthsimple Super Bowl Ad – Mad World, January 2017
                                                • Millennials find an “oddly satisfying” way to unwind
                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                  • Digital entertainment is a “must have”
                                                    • Millennials open to social connections with brands
                                                      • Millennials embrace new trends with open arms
                                                        • Sharing economy supported by Millennials
                                                          • Fear of “adulting” is more hype than happening
                                                            • Age, sex, and education drives optimism
                                                            • Millennials’ Must Have Services

                                                                • “I want my MTV” is now “I want my streaming services”
                                                                  • Figure 29: “Must have” online services, Millennials indexed to average, March 2017
                                                                • Similar to iGens, young Millennials find YouTube an essential
                                                                  • Figure 30: Millennials’ “must have” online services – select items, by younger and older, March 2017
                                                                • Employed Millennials seek convenience
                                                                  • Figure 31: Millennials’ “must have” online services – select items, by employment status, March 2017
                                                                • Hispanics on the bandwagon for the most popular services
                                                                  • Figure 32: Millennials’ “must have” online services – select items, by Hispanic origin, March 2017
                                                              • Opinions on Social Media

                                                                  • Brands more likely to reach Millennials through social
                                                                    • In their words
                                                                        • Figure 33: Millennials’ opinions on social media, Millennials indexed to average, March 2017
                                                                      • Younger Millennials open to brand connections
                                                                        • Figure 34: Millennials’ opinions on social media – select items, by younger and older Millennials, March 2017
                                                                      • Women feel the brunt of social media negativity
                                                                        • Figure 35: Millennials’ opinions on social media – select items, by gender, March 2017
                                                                      • Black Millennials make social media work for them
                                                                        • Figure 36: Millennials’ opinions on social media – select items, by race, March 2017
                                                                    • Perceptions of Trends

                                                                        • Millennials have more positive views of social media
                                                                          • Figure 37: Trends that have a positive impact on Millennials, Millennials indexed to average, March 2017
                                                                        • The youngest Millennials engage in internet activism
                                                                          • Figure 38: Trends that have a positive impact on Millennials, by age, March 2017
                                                                        • Men may find social media more inviting
                                                                          • Figure 39: Trends that have a positive impact on Millennials – select items, by gender, March 2017
                                                                        • Limited regional differences on minority inclusivity
                                                                          • Figure 40: Trends that have a positive impact on Millennials – select items, by region, March 2017
                                                                        • Black Millennials embrace digital trends
                                                                          • Figure 41: Trends that have a positive impact on Millennials – select items, by race, March 2017
                                                                      • Sharing Economy Participation

                                                                          • Millennials are key contributors to the sharing economy
                                                                            • In their words
                                                                                • Figure 42: Sharing/gig economy participation, Millennials indexed to average, March 2017
                                                                              • Both younger and older Millennials have learned to share
                                                                                • Figure 43: Millennials’ sharing/gig economy participation – select items, by older and younger Millennials, March 2017
                                                                              • Millennial parents over-index for nearly all services
                                                                                • Figure 44: Millennials’ sharing/gig economy participation – select items, by older and younger Millennials, March 2017
                                                                              • Small family households are key target
                                                                                • Figure 45: Millennials’ sharing/gig economy participation – select items, by number of children in household, March 2017
                                                                            • Adulting

                                                                                • Parenting is an area of strength for Millennials
                                                                                  • Figure 46: Adulting, Millennials indexed to average, March 2017
                                                                                • Young Millennials still gaining confidence
                                                                                  • Figure 47: Millennials’ adult behaviors – select items, by younger and older Millennials, March 2017
                                                                                • The confidence curve continues past the age of 40
                                                                                  • Figure 48: Adult behaviors – select items, by generation, March 2017
                                                                                • Men and women hold their own against their household chores
                                                                                  • Figure 49: Millennials’ adult behaviors – select items, by gender, March 2017
                                                                                • Hispanics exude confidence
                                                                                  • Figure 50: Millennials’ adult behaviors – select items, by Hispanic origin, March 2017
                                                                                • Black and White Millennials both highly confident
                                                                                  • Figure 51: Millennials’ adult behaviors – select items, by race, March 2017
                                                                              • Millennial Optimism

                                                                                  • Adults feel optimistic about health and happiness
                                                                                      • Figure 52: Attitudes about life, by Millennials and all, March 2017
                                                                                    • Millennials more optimistic about earning potential
                                                                                      • Figure 53: Millennial attitudes about life, March 2017
                                                                                    • Education drives optimism across the board
                                                                                      • Figure 54: Millennial attitudes about life, by level of education, March 2017
                                                                                    • Male Millennials show more overall positivity
                                                                                      • Figure 55: Millennial attitudes about life, by gender, March 2017
                                                                                    • The key to young optimism is opportunity
                                                                                      • Figure 56: Millennial attitudes about life – opportunity and present state, by generation, March 2017
                                                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                    • Data sources
                                                                                      • Consumer survey data
                                                                                        • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                          • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                          • Appendix – The Millennial Market

                                                                                              • Figure 57: Population, by generation, 2012-22
                                                                                              • Figure 58: Milestones of adulthood, 2012
                                                                                              • Figure 59: Living arrangements among adults aged 18 to 34: 1975 and 2016
                                                                                              • Figure 60: Living arrangements of young adults aged 18-34, 2016
                                                                                              • Figure 61: Economic and educational characteristics of young adults aged 25-34, 1975 and 2016
                                                                                              • Figure 62: Distribution of generations, by race and Hispanic origin, 2017
                                                                                              • Figure 63: Households with own children under age 18, by age of householder, 2016

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