Why are millennials such a moving target?

Why are millennials such a moving target?

Millennials expect everything to be available on demand.

Millennials have certainly reacted to the recent times of crisis. Struggling to find a job, they have moved to new cities or countries for a new start in life and will not stay for long in the same company. They have developed a survival kit made of social media and virtual networks.

They are much more agile than Generation X – they don’t want to suffer, they want to keep control.

Millennials live in the now

It seems that non-immediate considerations are completely out of scope for millennials. For example:

  • Working hard in a job today to be promoted tomorrow has little sense.
  • Planning for a party in a month is useless if all can be organised through a Facebook group in four hours.
  • Rather than purchasing large quantities for a better price in a large hypermarket, millennials (particularly the more affluent) are more prepared to pay for convenience by shopping for everyday essentials at drug stores in urban locations.

Millennials are selfish characters that share

So millennials mainly care about themselves – and possibly their friends. But millennials don’t care so much for their community, family or country.

They are discouraged by most politician initiatives in the last 10 years to provide them and their parents a promising future. They only trust themselves and look for immediate and tangible benefits.

Despite their care for themselves, millennials are keen to share, and even more than previous generations. But sharing certainly doesn’t mean giving! It’s also a pragmatic answer to low income.

Sharing dining experiences for example is provides a way to dine out and have fun at a very affordable price.

Millennials share to save money

The first aspect of a sharing economy that appeals to millennials is saving money before feeling active and useful.

Millennials and status

Status for millennials has a different meaning – it’s no longer about bling, hard power or money. Millennials have felt the consequences of financial crisis, they distrust banks and traders. They have touched the limit of over consumption. They are more likely to regret a purchase than other generations.

Millennials buy items they don't regret

Millennials don’t commit (to brands, to companies, to partners…) as they stay prepared to change in a snap either in reaction to bad wind, or to exploit a new wind that can provide tangible benefits.

Interestingly we now see a ‘debranding’ trend. Millennials don’t want conspicuous logos, they ask for purpose in their purchase.

The challenge is very high for brands, as 50% of US millennials think ‘brands say something about who I am, my values and where I fit in.’ What is new is that they can check on their smartphones if the brand content is real or fake!

So, how should companies and brands be working to grasp this fluid generation?

Some suggestions:

  • Decrypt your competitors’ moves and benchmark beyond the industry you operate in.
  • Review you media strategy to strategically integrate Millennials (budgets, media, organisation.)

Want to know more about millennials?

This is part of a series of thoughts on millennials – read our other blog discussing how millennials differ to other generations and our blog about millennials as the connected SuperMe generation.

Want to know more about millennials in the Asian market? Read our Middle Eastern perspective on how millennials are affecting the future of consumer marketing.


More about the authors

This blog was written by international passionate marketer Matthieu Meheut alongside Colin McAllister who developed his career with The Nielsen Company and has a track record of constantly driving innovation.

Matthieu Meheut

Matthieu Meheut

Colin McAllister

Colin McAllister