Totaling 80 million, Millennials are now the largest age group in the U.S. workforce. And while a new research report commissioned by software firm Vision Critical confirmed that Millennials may be thrifty, it also showed that they have a willingness to spend.
Getting them to open up their purses, though, requires different engagement tactics.
The authors of the report, conducted by Maru/VCR&C, noted that the “paradox of the Millennial generation is that, despite being so extensively studied and analyzed, American businesses and enterprises still don’t accurately understand them, and often see them as a nuisance or adversary.”
“To succeed, businesses need to come to terms with Millennials, and appreciate how they’re motivated by different values and display different behaviors than previous generations of customers,” the researchers said, adding the Millennials “currently control more than $600 billion in annual customer spending.”
Some of the conclusions derived from the survey of 1,600 respondents include that this generation are “eager adopters of new technology, especially when it gives them more control over their time and their lives.” The researchers also found that social causes are important to Millennials, and they “seek out opportunities to support them not just in the voting booth but at the supermarket, the mall and the office.”
And when it comes to traditional forms of advertising, they actively avoid it, which is problematic for companies and brands who are trying to reach this group. But there are other marketing challenges as well: the authors of the report said that Millennials “prefer to research products and services on their own time, through their own pathways, to draw their own conclusions.”
Still, the researchers found Millennials crave fashion brands — and they are ready to spend their hard-earned dollars. “Millennials are fashionable and have expensive taste,” the researchers said, noting that 65 percent of respondents “want designer brands and believe design is important.” This compares to just 18 percent of Baby Boomers who were surveyed.
And in regard to spending, 19 percent of Millennials polled described themselves as “big spenders,” which compares to 11 percent of Generation Z and 5 percent of Baby Boomers.
“In keeping with their self image as spenders, Millennials like nice stuff,” the researchers said. “They seek out designer labels. They like classic designs, but want fashionable items that look good. They buy products that look expensive, are special and unique, and can impress others. At the same time, however, our study also highlighted things they truly care about just as much: where it’s designed, where it’s shipped from and whether its manufacturer or retailer has made any commitment to fair trade, organic or sustainability principles.”