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#marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials

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Contrary to what #catsofinstagram portrays, millennials do, in fact, prefer dogs to cats. (Sorry @taylorswift).

Just like everyone else in the marketplace, we were interested in learning more about millennials—not so much their pet preferences, but their spend behaviors. We analyzed data from millions of households and walked away with some startling realizations.

The kicker of them all? Millennials aren’t as unique as everyone thinks.

Millennials are currently the largest living generation and the long-term success of your brand just may depend on them. Get a leg up over your competition; download our latest research to learn more about this elusive generation and exactly where they spend their time and money.

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#marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials

  1. 1. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials 1epsilon.com #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials A 2015 research report
  2. 2. 2 Everyone is talking about millennials these days, but we think the primary conversations are missing the mark. So we looked to our data and found a few insights that just might change the way you market to this generation going forward. But first, let’s get to know today’s millennials— who they are (and who they aren’t), what they value and how they behave. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials Silent generation Baby boomers Generation X Generation Z Millennials (Generation Y) 1928 1945 1965 1980 2005 The generational divide
  3. 3. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials 3 53% 39% 8% 42%53% 39% 8% 42%53% 39% 8% 42% 53% 39% 8% 42% 31% 53% Getting to know today’s millennials The facts about millennials are that they were born between the early 1980s and early 2000s— exact years vary depending on the source—and depending on the source, millennials are currently the largest living generation with around 83 million people. The primary myth of the millennials is that they’re all the same. And that their path through life is drastically different from how other generations lived. It’s common to treat millennials like they are a foreign species, worthy of completely new and drastic tactics. If you’re approaching millennials this way, you need to make some changes. And quickly, before you’ve lost them altogether. Here is some general knowledge we have on millennials: –– The average population is 11.7x wealthier than millennials ages 18–24. We’re not surprised. Were you wealthy right out of high school or college? –– Nobody argues that millennials are digital natives, but that doesn’t mean they live on planet web. They do what others do: leverage the web to research, review, comment, complain or praise. But millennials like to have products in their hands now, which is what the store convenience and immediacy brings. Add technology to these brick- and-mortar stores and they become 21st century experiences. of millennials have had recent Facebook activity in the last 7 days is spent in retail stores is spent online is spent through call centers Millennials’ wallet spend 31% 53% 39% 8% of millennials use “old-school” printable coupons 42%
  4. 4. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials 4 –– Younger millennials (18–24) have 27% EAI (Economic Activity Indicator, the ratio between income and spend) compared to the average. Older millennials (25–33) have 71% income ratio compared to the average. Within the entire millennial generation, we’re seeing a wide range of income levels, especially between those in college and those 5 years into their careers. 17% 34% 63% 68%17% 34% 63% 68% millennials 18–24 years old Gen Xersmillennials 25–33 years old baby boomers Credit card usage (Hint: Millennials are mostly using cash) Average length of residence 63% 17% millennials 18–24 years old millennials 25–33 years old Gen Xers baby boomers 3.3years 5.2years 10.8years 13.6years 68% 34% Credit card The marketing challenge: Knowing the physical address of this mobile group (at home, at the dorm, at their parents’ house, etc.).
  5. 5. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials 5 Millennials have a much lower average income than older generations, which makes sense considering they are newer to the workforce. Not unexpectedly, millennials also have a much lower average net worth than older generations. Millennials aged 18–34 are: 2.2x more likely to subscribe to sports leisure catalogs 5x more likely to download running apps 5.6x more likely to download news apps 4x more likely to visit comparison shopping sites 3x more likely to visit couponing sites $15,854 millennials (18–24 years old) $19,380 millennials (18–24 years old) $41,538 millennials (25–33 years old) $24,414 millennials (25–33 years old) $63,832 Gen Xers $171,212 Gen Xers $55,928 baby boomers $259,950 baby boomers 4.6x more likely to purchase items at a discount store 4x more likely to purchase wine and spirits More millennial facts Millennials aged 21–34 are doing the same thing as other generations did at this stage, except that they do some of it in a connected way. They are: 11x more likely to download baby care apps 2.1x more likely to visit baking sites 2.3x more likely to visit entertainment sites 7.9x more likely to purchase photos and prints
  6. 6. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials 6 How to market to today’s millennials It’s about life stage, not age. You read that right. Drawing from our vast transactional data on millennials, we’re seeing—across all industries—that age doesn’t determine preferences and behaviors. What does matter is life stage. If you focus your marketing to millennials as a general group—or avoid them as a general group— you’re potentially failing to cultivate life-long customers. While age does play a role in some of the life stages, you really need to focus on stage, not age. Movement through the stages is fluid. These stages don’t necessarily happen chronologically, nor do all of them happen for all people, and they aren’t mutually exclusive. Even within the stages, it’s ultimately about the individual. To effectively market to millennials (or anyone really), forget about the age, think about the stage, learn everything you can about them and focus your efforts on creating segments of one.
  7. 7. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials 7 Meet our 6 millennial stages #liveswithmom #puttingdownroots #imanadult #momlife #gettinhitched #butfirstletmetakeaselfie
  8. 8. 47% 22%47% 22% 29% 17% 11% 1%29% 17% 11% 1% 7% 11% 1%17% 11% 1% 8 #imanadult These people are just starting out, or just moving into taking responsibility as an adult. Millennials in this phase could be any age, as everyone gets their start in different ways and different times. They may be heading off to college, working one or more jobs or taking some time off to figure out what they want to do with their lives. –– Socially connected: Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. –– Values: Socially-aware, health-conscious, support causes. –– Millennials are the most educated generation in history. 72% of 21–34 year-olds have some college or higher. But that doesn’t mean they are all gainfully employed. While very educated, being unemployed and underemployed are still a major source of stress. Biggest spend categories (% of annual wallet) Apparel Home décor Educational/office supplies Entertainment 29% 17% 11% 1% 5.3x more likely to purchase health food 9x more likely to purchase academic resources 2.6x more likely to visit credit/ debit and loan sites These millennials are: Healthfood Millennials and social media of millennials (18–24 years old) have recent Facebook activity in the last 7 days are influenced to make purchase decisions based on their friends’ social activity 47% 22%
  9. 9. 41% 8% 5% 41% 8% 5% 1% 41% 8% 5% 1% #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials 9 #liveswithmom This group, who we affectionately dub the Subterraneans, is a growing group of millennials who live with their parents. They are the people depicted in the movies as your basement dwellers— some for a very short time period, others for longer—who are often perceived as unable to function as adults. In reality, the rising cost of education, competitive job market and the longer time it takes to reach self-sufficiency (compared to other generations) have sent many millennials back to their parents’ houses until they feel ready to go out on their own. Subterraneans, while typically viewed as post-college, can be any age. Every generation has included a group of Subterraneans, but with millennials, we’re seeing this trend become more common, and for longer. –– Subterraneans are commonly millennials of European descent with families who have established households with higher income, net worth and livable square footage. For these people, home is comfortable. They may have their own living spaces, freedom to come and go as they please and little to no financial requirements. Leaving home means downgrading their lifestyle, since they can’t afford the luxuries they’ve come accustomed to, so they stay longer (perhaps longer than the Subterraneans of prior generations). –– Millennials from ethnically-diverse or lower income families, especially with smaller residences, are less likely to be Subterraneans. –– Values: High-speed internet for gaming, entertainment, computer use and social media. –– Spend: Subterraneans spend less of their share of wallet on rent and household expenses, meaning they have more to spend on themselves and others. Remember that they won’t be Subterraneans forever so these spend patterns can’t be expected in the future once their share of wallet changes. Apparel & accessories Gifts Sports, outdoor & recreation Travel 5% 8% 1% Biggest spend categories 41% 8% 5% 41%
  10. 10. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials 10 #gettinhitched Even though millennials are marrying later than other generations (age 26 for women/29 for men), contrary to popular belief, they are not anti-marriage. They are following the same path to coupledom as prior generations, just with a bit of a delay, potentially due to the high population of people going to college and the struggle to gain financial independence. But regardless of age, millennials are getting engaged, planning weddings, registering for gifts and booking honeymoons. –– Once the millennials get married, their purchase activity and preferences begin to look more like a typical Generation Xer than an unmarried millennial. –– Rainy day fund: Married millennials are almost 2.5x more likely than non-married millennials to have wealth savings above $25K. –– Apparel: Millennials spend 26% of their annual wallet. Single millennials spend 36% of their annual wallet. –– Married millennials have higher income than their single counter-parts ($60K vs. $34K). –– Many married millennials also have children. 19.2% of married 18–24 year-olds have children. 35.4% of married 25–33 year-olds have children. –– Married millennials allocate 13% more of their annual wallet (than single millennials) on furnishings and décor. Interestingly, both single and married millennials spend 21%+ more in this category than any other generation. However they have less disposable income than the boomers and Generation Xers. –– Same-sex marriage: With the legalization of same-sex marriage, conventions will change. More than ever before, brands will need to think twice before automatically assuming that a marriage indicator serves as a rule to market to the other gender. Who’s married across generations Average spend per household Single Married Kids No kids Gen X baby boomers Millennials $433 $624 $590 $432 $709 $720 millennials (18–24 years old) millennials (25–33 years old) Gen X baby boomers 14% 33% 53%14% 33% 53% 14% 33% 53% 58%14% 33% 53% 58% 14% 33% 53% 58% Millennials aged 21–34 are 6.7x more likely to purchase wedding related products.
  11. 11. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials 11 #momlife First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage. So they say. Just like in prior generations, we’re seeing this to be true, although it isn’t always in that order. But even still, being married and having children have characteristically different sets of behaviors and tendencies. If (or when) children enter the equation, things change. –– Socially connected: Millennials with kids are using Facebook to share photos with other (older) family members. (Millennials without kids are using Instagram.) –– Millennials with children are 1.6x (28.7% versus 17.5%) more likely than those without to switch health insurance providers to better serve their changing families. –– Millennials with children are more likely than any other stage to cancel a credit card, perhaps in an attempt to take advantage of new offers/points. –– Buying behaviors: The focus shifts to the kids, including children’s apparel, toys and books, but also active wear and sports and outdoor recreation merchandise. Parents spend 25% less of their annual wallet on apparel, fashion accessories, shoes, beauty and spa items for themselves. Your old loyal shoppers start to drift away, not because they are less loyal, but because their priorities have shifted. –– Millennials with children allocate 2x more of their annual wallet on children’s merchandise compared to the millennials without children. (5% vs. 10% of annual wallet) –– Households with children are more likely to earn higher incomes and have higher net worth. How many have children? millennials (25–33 years old) millennials (18–24 years old) Gen X baby boomers 9% 22% 38% 9% 22% 38% 12%9% 22% 38% 12% 9% 22% 38% 9% 22% 38% 12%
  12. 12. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials 12 #puttingdownroots As millennials graduate from college, get established in their careers and maybe get married and/or have kids, many are also buying homes or otherwise putting down roots. While the assumption may have been that millennials are too in debt and lazy to work toward buying homes, that’s just not the case. What is true is that with school loans and the expenses of life, saving for a down payment on a home takes longer than previous generations. This means we’re generally seeing older millennials in this stage, but not always. –– As millennials become more established and put down roots, they are spending more of their annual wallet on apparel (6% more than baby boomers and 15% more than Gen Xers) although they still have a smaller wallet to work with. –– As people age, they are more likely to progress into the life stage of buying their own homes. For many, with school loans and the expenses of life, saving for a down payment on a home takes longer than expected. –– Millennials in this stage spend 1.4x more than other stages on furnishings and decorations, like kitchen and modern contemporary décor. –– As millennials put down roots and make more money, they are not only buying homes, they are making upgrades to current assets, like cars. –– When we studied the new face of the luxury buyers, we saw millennials came to the top of the charts. Even though millennials are overall not as wealthy— yet—as older generations, they have a place in the luxury market. Our findings showed that well-educated Asian males are common luxury shoppers. This customer spends more on exterior signs of success, like high-end apparel, accessories and trendy and modern home décor than they do on home ownership. 1.56% 2.3% 3.07% 3.28% 3.82% 4.46% 5.4% 6.0% 6.65% 7.02% 7.88% 8.72% 9.81% New car purchases increase with income Income $0 – $14,999 – $15,000 – $20,000 – $30,000 – $40,000 – $50,000 – $75,000 – $100,000 – $125,000 – $150,000 – $175,000 – $200,000 – $250,000 –
  13. 13. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials 13 #butfirstletmetakeaselfie It wouldn’t be fair to talk about marriage, children and home-buying without also giving respect to the growing number of millennials choosing not to follow this pattern. While settling down and raising a family was expected in generations past, millennials aren’t as likely to give in to that social pressure. We’re seeing more people stay single for longer and choose not to have children. Just like everyone else, single millennials are following the same general path as prior generations. They finish college, get jobs and transition into adulthood. While single millennials generally have less disposable income due to paying their bills by themselves, their spending is in line with their life stage. –– Single millennials spend 1.4x more of their annual wallet on apparel (including clothing, shoes and accessories) than those who are married. They are less likely to spend on fine furnishings and décor. They are more likely than other stages to have a higher average order on purchases. –– Single millennials are more likely than their attached counterparts to rent their residence. On a related note, they are also more likely to have recently moved. $ 60k $ 34k Single millennials have a lower average income compared to married millennials. Single millennials spend Married Single 1.4x more of their annual wallet on apparel than those who are married
  14. 14. 14 Key takeaways for marketers The key to marketing to millennials is to let go of the idea that they are different. Their age doesn’t determine their behaviors, their stage does. Here are 5 key takeaways to help guide how successfully you market to millennials in the future. 1 Forget targeting to millennials as a group. You can’t possibly hope to reach them with large-scale generalizations. Target them based on life stage and what they like, who they are and what they do, individually. This group, more than anyone, expect relevant, timely messaging and to know what’s interesting and relevant, you need to understand who they are, what they prefer and what life stage they are in. 2 Employ one-to-one strategies. The evolution of digital marketing strategies, techniques and tools now allow for 1:1 marketing. Embrace it. Successful brands are not just segmenting; they are creating “segments of one” to send targeted, hyper- personalized, relevant offers and messaging. Remember that with this tech-savvy generation, you have to be a tech-savvy marketer. Find partners who can help. 3 Millennials will grow up and their stage will change, don’t dismiss where they are now. Just because those in multi-family dwellings don’t have a yard doesn’t mean you can (or should) ignore them. One day they probably will have a yard and already have an idea of how to decorate it. Just because they aren’t exactly your target population right now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start cultivating relationships. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials
  15. 15. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials 15 4 Even though millennials have less income than older generations, they still have buying power and are perhaps even more influential because of their social media use. Use your social channels to cultivate millennials into fans, even if they aren’t currently your target buyer. That said, they are also very responsive to direct mail and it’s a channel you shouldn’t overlook when trying to engage with millennials. And remember that converting a customer now could create a valuable long-term relationship. 5 The key is to embrace your individual customers holistically. If you’re in the business of being a millennial-focused brand today, you have to be savvy enough to navigate a customer-base who is aging. You have to be nimble and flexible and evolve your strategy into 1:1 relationships. It’s a whole lot simpler than you think; you just have to move past silos to achieve a more customer-centric journey. Start thinking about the customer experience and step into their shoes and understand how technology, combined with data and messaging, can play a role in driving conversions.
  16. 16. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials 16 Finally, we don’t want you to feel overwhelmed by this. You have many tools that will help make this happen, and it’s really not as hard as you think. But we also understand that having a trusted partner can make all the difference in how effectively you reach your millennial customers. As the global leader in turning data-driven marketing into lasting relationships, we can help.
  17. 17. #marketingtomillennials: A guide to understanding today’s millennials 17 About Epsilon Epsilon is the global leader in creating connections between people and brands. An all-encompassing global marketing company, we harness the power of rich data, groundbreaking technologies, engaging creative and transformative ideas to get the results our clients require. Recognized by Ad Age as the #1 World CRM/Direct Marketing Network, #1 U.S. Digital-Agency Network and #1 U.S. Agency from All Disciplines, Epsilon employs over 7,000 associates in 70 offices worldwide. Epsilon is an Alliance Data company. For more information, visit epsilon.com, follow us on Twitter @EpsilonMktg or call 1 800 309 0505. epsilon.com Copyright©Epsilon2015EpsilonDataManagement,LLC.Allrightsreserved.Copyright©Epsilon2015EpsilonDataManagement,LLC.Allrightsreserved.

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