What Marketers Need to Know About Millennials in 2016

Michelle Markelz
Marketing News
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Key Takeaways

What? Millennials are defining themselves on social media and seek less commitment to brands. 

So what? Brands looking to attract millennials need to adjust their products and services for a generation that wants to share unique, playful, and socially conscious content. 

Now what? Does your millennial persona reflect the culture trends of Generation Y?​

Millennials define themselves by their social media use and are eager to share content, so long as it's relevant.​

The term “status update” has taken on a more literal translation as 47% of consumers feel they are best defined by their social media presence. Yet only about 0.5% of consumers talk about brands on Facebook. 

That’s according to Mindshare North America’s fifth annual Culture Vulture Trends​ report, which describes millennial consumers as an empathetic yet irreverent segment averse to commitment, growing up and mass production. Mindshare surveyed 2,000 North American consumers using a proprietary method to gather behavioral and sociological insights. 

Mindshare suggests there is great opportunity for brands to go beyond that 0.5% social mention rate and capitalize on millennials’ appetite for content by identifying how they can help consumers tell stories about themselves through social channels. “Content sharing has become the new ID badge, proclaiming who we are, what we believe in, and what we want to project to the world,” the report states. 

Related Cont​ent

Here are some other notable findings about consumers and what they mean for marketers in the year to come:  

  • 67% of consumers agree that being “trapped” in a two-year contract is “annoying,” according to Chetan Sharma Consulting.

Mindshare describes millennials as a commitment-phobic group, and stats from a variety of industries back up the claim. Home ownership in the U.S. sat at 63% in 2015, the lowest it’s been in 30 years, according to the U.S. Census. Data from Edmunds show car leasing is at its highest rate in a decade, due in part to consumer reluctance to purchase increasingly tech-heavy cars that suffer depreciation similar to consumer electronics. “Brands need to assess the specific product risks their target consumers perceive, and find new ways to diminish or eliminate them,” the report suggests.

  • ​​58% of surveyed millennials prefer unique goods over mass-produced, up 13% in just two years.

Brands that are delighting consumers with uniqueness are finding clever ways to incorporate “Easter eggs,” an intentionally hidden feature, usually in a piece of software, into their products. Mindshare points to Jeep, whose 2015 Renegade​ features little references to the history the Jeep brand in its design.

  • 46of millennial women who are mothers, according to the Census, and 29% are stay-at-home moms, found Pew.

The numbers suggest millennials have begun starting their own family and are a burgeoning target for parenting brands. But they are different from the moms and dads who came before them.

“Adventure” is extremely important to 57% of millennial mothers, up from 49 percent in 2005, according to data from MRI.

Millennial parents incorporate their pre-parenting activities and interests into their lives. One of those activities, social media, is an opportunity for engagement, as BabyCenter reported 92% of millennial mothers share family milestones on Facebook.

Author Bio:

Michelle Markelz
Michelle Markelz is a staff writer for the AMA’s magazines and e-newsletters. She can be reached at mmarkelz@ama.org.
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Ted Tansley
February 3, 2016

"46% of millennial women who are mothers, according to the Census, and 29% are stay-at-home moms, found Pew." - Quote doesn't read so well to me. Is it 29% of the 46% of millennial women are stay-at-home mothers?

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