Trying to understand Millennials or Generation Y (those born between 1980 and 2000) means deciphering a list of contradictions. Optimistic, risk-averse, coddled, and ambitious—all these terms have been used to describe Millennials. And with a population estimated at about 80 million, Millennials are the most tech-savvy, educated, and largest American generation yet.
As the oldest Millennials reach their mid-30s and increase their spending, it is critical that marketers figure out how to capture this generation’s attention. Despite economic setbacks, consulting firm Accenture predicts Millennials’ spending power will reach $1.4 trillion by 2020 and represent 30 percent of total retail sales.
The generation known for being connected and averse to traditional marketing tactics is poised to have a major impact on the economy, changing the ways that businesses engage with consumers. There is no surefire way to engage any customer, however, the average Millennial consumer has several preferences that retailers should keep in mind when trying to meet their needs.
While providing a consistent, personalized experience across devices is difficult, the stakes are high for companies to change their business processes and technology to do so. More than 68 percent of the respondents demanded “an integrated, seamless experience regardless of the channel” when shopping, according to Accenture’s report, Who are the Millennial Shoppers?
In addition, many young adults seek personalized, targeted promotions and discounts in exchange for their loyalty. More than 95 percent of Millennials said they want brands to court them actively. They also want mobile coupon scanning capabilities, and having to print out coupons prior to shopping could be a deal-breaker. One respondent commented, “When I get to the store, if I haven’t printed out my coupon and I can’t use it, I walk out.”
Millennials are also easily distracted. As people increasingly consume content on a variety of devices, they are also more likely to multitask. Approximately 86 percent of U.S. consumers juggled more than one activity while watching TV last year, up from 72 percent in 2011, according to Deloitte. And Millennials are the most active multitaskers, engaging in an average of four activities while watching TV, as compared to Gen-Xers and boomers, who tend to engage in one or more additional activities while watching TV.