USA n The market research company MarketLine has published a study about the consuming behaviours of the millennial generation, consisting of individuals born between roughly between1985 and 1995.
Millennials want much of the same things in life; they haven’t changed that dramatically from other ages of people and still have the same basic needs and life goals. However, they do have unique circumstances that they have evolved into, such as the widespread use of technology allowing people to be online at all times, reduced disposable incomes and underemployment compared to previous generations and better education on lifestyle, health and ethics. Many of these factors have led to all kinds of unusual trends in the business world as companies adjust and try to maneuver to cater for any drop off in sales to young people. Sometimes though, many of the new products and changes we see are solving a modern problem that millennials have, rather than being something that millennials actually want. Fundamentally millennials want the same things in life and in many situations minor tweaks to products and brands can prevent millennials leaving companies behind.
Personalisation as a key marketing strategr
The behavioral changes exhibited by millennials have also resulted in changing marketing strategies to appeal to them. Traditional methods are less effective, with personalization a key driver. This refers to both dictating their own experience with the product, and also using peer review (whether social networks or online reviews) to judge which product is best for them. Social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube have drawn the attention of companies, particularly in the fashion and beauty industry, as vloggers and streamers become the new gatekeepers to access millennials. As smartphones are now the primary point of online access for millennials, strong mobile marketing infrastructure is essential. Along with personalization, millennials like companies that take ethical issues seriously.
The millennial generation is proving to be a tricky group to cater to for many businesses. At face value, in the restaurant and food retail industry, millennials are good consumers of food products eating out regularly, ordering takeaways and cooking at home just as much if not more than the generations before them.
However they tend to have completely different priorities (convenience and unique experiences for instance) and some established brands and food stuffs are suffering as a result of a stuffy outdated image or ineffective branding, when faced with competition from new brands more able to connect with the millennial generation. Finding ways to appeal to the specifics of the generation is not a tall order, but it may alienate brands from their traditional customers in process, so for many restaurant and food brands the transition is not a painless one.
News outlets abound with reports that various products are in decline due to disinterest from millennials; commentators cite a fundamental shift in attitude to ownership as the primary cause, but there is more to it. Whilst it is true attitudes among many millennials have shifted compared to previous generations, other causes such as necessity and economic conditions must at least rank alongside cultural developments to explain trends. Perceptions among millennials on what is required for an acceptable standard of living are forcing changes in ownership of certain product types (such as houses and cars) which were formerly a staple item for most people. Apocalyptic predictions of what may happen based upon millennial behavior may have some underpinning but can also be accused of missing the point that millennials are mainly reacting to a changing world.