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Millennials: 80 Million Strong and Ready to Spend

By , VP, Marketing & Business Strategy, Hanson Dodge

June 28, 2013

They soon will have more spending power than any other age group, they’re more influenced by user-generated content than their elders, and they’re never far from a device that allows them to purchase whatever their hearts desire.

The Millennials — defined as those born between 1980 and 2000 – are the answers to a CEO’s prayers.

They can and will increase your bottom line, but only if you meet them on their tech-savvy terms. When it comes to the strategic alignment of technology, branding and marketing, is your organization positioned to tap into the lucrative Millennial market? In the U.S. alone, Millennials number 80 million strong, the biggest age grouping in American history. And, as noted by Joel Stein in a recent cover story for Time magazine, “…(thanks) to globalization, social media, the exporting of Western culture and the speed of change, Millennials worldwide are more similar to one another than to older generations within their nations.” In other words, figure out the psyche and buying habits of American Millennials and the WORLD will be your oyster. Below are 9 facts to consider as you build your marketing strategy:

Millennial Spending 1

1. Your business will soon depend on Millennials. By 2017, Millennials – those currently in their mid-teens to mid-30s -- are estimated to have more spending power than any other age group.

Millennial Spending 2

2. Bigger than Boomers. By 2030, Millennials will outnumber Baby Boomers – the 49- to 67-year-old crowd -- by a whopping 22 million.

Millennial Spending 3

3. Millennials & purchasing -- According to a recent Bazaar Voice study, 84% of Millennials report that user-generated content on company websites directly influences what they buy compared to 70% of Baby Boomers. In fact, Millennials won’t make purchases big or small without customer input.

Millennial Spending 4

4. A generation on the go. They use mobile phones, tablet, computers and social networks every day. Such technologies enable Millennials to take all their networks, friends and data with them. With 95% of Millennials online, it’s safe to say that being connected is a daily part of their lives. Compared to other generations, they are the most plugged-in to the digital world around us.

Millennial Spending 5

5. Smartphones impact shopping. According to a 2013 Nielson report which examined the use of mobile devices across 10 countries, smartphones – the device of choice for Millennials -- are used most for browsing products, price comparison, and reading product reviews. Within the U.S., smartphone owners are most likely to use their device for in-store price comparison, online coupons and comparing products.

Millennial Spending 6

6. And those phones deliver advertising. Once again, as noted in the 2013 Nielson report, more than half of Americans using a mobile phone receive ads at least once a day.

Millennial Spending 7

7. Millennials actively engage in social media and social media increases brand loyalty. Research has shown that social network connections can influence customer loyalty. Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate explored why social media users become brand fans. The top reason to friend a brand on Facebook was to receive discounts, followed by simply being a customer of the company and a desire to show others one’s support of the brand. On Twitter, discounts, up-to-the-minute information and exclusive content were the main draws.

Millennial Spending 8

8. Millennials think differently about online privacy. According to a new survey from the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz Inc., Millennials report more willingness to grant brands access to their personal data and how they share information with businesses online than older users – as long as they receive tangible benefits in return, including relevant web content and ads.

Millennial Spending 9

9. Millennials as defined by Millennials. A 2010 survey by The Pew Research Center asked people of all ages what made their generation unique. Almost one-fourth of Millennials noted the impact of technology.

Given all of the above, today’s consumer brands must have an integrated strategy that includes:

  • Personalization of content and the ability to make offers based upon shopping habits.
  • Responsive design is a minimum technology must-have. Content must seamlessly adjust to mobile and tablet size screens.
  • A shopping experience that integrates with social media and a social media strategy that clearly defines KPIs and drives brand loyalty and purchases.

Does your strategy have what it takes to capture this lucrative Millennial market? Don’t make the mistake of overlooking this powerful demographic. Sources: Brafton, 2013 Nielsen Report, 2013 Pew Research Center, 2010

For fresh insights on Millennial consumers, and to read the case study of how Hanson Dodge Creative helped bring K-Swiss to prominence among this profitable demographic, download our 2015 white paper, "A Business Case for Millennial Engagement," below. 

Tom Flierl, VP, Marketing & Business Strategy, Hanson Dodge

Tom leads the Hanson Dodge  marketing and business development teams where he leverages more than 20 years of business experience in marketing, technology and media. Tom knows what it takes to successfully manage and grow a business. He has more than 13 years of executive experience and has held equity positions in two companies including a successful startup firm. Tom writes and speaks nationally on the subject of digital commerce, helping businesses identify and deliver greater value through the integration of their branding, marketing and technology efforts.

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