Rise of the Millennials: why business needs to understand these digital natives

Derek GarriockFor many, the term ‘millennial’ evokes the image of an apathetic youngster playing video games and texting a friend in the same room, But, by 2020 those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s could account for 30% of global spend. So, it’s an important group.

Millennials are sometimes referred to, as the ‘selfie generation’, but a better name would be the ‘smartphone generation’ because, having grown up in the age of the Internet and the mobile, it’s leading the way on adoption and incorporating these devices into their daily lives.

It’s interesting to note that 87% of Millennials say their phone never leaves their side and 80% say the first thing they do when they wake is reach for their smartphone.
This group is in effect the vanguard of generations to come for whom technology is deeply engrained in their lives. if businesses want to connect with these future generations, they need to understand what Millennials are all about. So, what are they like?

The fundamental element of the Millennial generation is that its ‘always-on’. This group is so connected that half say they need constant internet access, even when they’re on-the-go.

Smartphones are a natural solution to this need and 43% say they now access the internet more through their phones than computers.
During a typical day, usage for Millennials peaks 4-6pm, but this is the same for all adults. It’s the increased use of smartphones around the clock by Millennials that gives marketers the ability to reach this generation virtually anytime and anywhere.
During a typical week, Millennials spend 67 hours using media, which works out to approximately 9.5 hours a day – more than some people sleep. This generation is also the first to devote most their media time to digital devices. They spend 35 hours a week with digital and only 32 hours with traditional media.

Millennials are the generation that spends the least amount of time watching TV, but even in this group television accounts for 37% of its total weekly
media time – this is about 25 hours.

This final stat is telling. If a business is trying to market to Millennials, it shouldn’t discount the power of television for reaching this generation in the same way it reaches other age groups.

If anything, this group’s tendency to multi-task on other devices while watching TV means there is potential for more interactive and actionable television content and advertising – as many as 77% watch TV with a second device.

When engaging with Millennials businesses need to adopt a mobile-first approach in order to reach them. This isn’t limited to onboarding or targeting either, but spans the entire life cycle through to collections and retention strategies. Research also shows that Millennials still want human interaction – they just want it mediated through digital.

Ultimately, however, Millennials have expectations as consumers that are not currently being met by traditional business – and it’s a similar story for subsequent generations.

Winning the loyalty of Millennials is crucial to future success.

Understand more about the differences in customer groups, and how the Millennial meets the expectation of their elder peers, the ageing population in our recent blog post. Read here.

You may also like our podcast recording on a ‘What does a future, driven by digital, look like?’

This article is about: credit risk assessment, customer behavuours, customer segments, demographics, digital, Millennial, mobile