Weekly Column: 2017-03-31

Have you heard of the Millennial Generation also called Generation Y? It refers to people born between the years 1980 to 2000 and it is said there are about 2.5 billion people in the world that are in this category. As they are responsible for more than 30% of the world’s consumption, are the largest and influential consumer generation at the present, and rising as a powerful, principle agent of consumption. I myself am counted among them and there are many points in their consumption pattern that I can relate to. They are very sensitive to trends, know how to utilize various IT gadgets, purchase items before others, and never let their smartphones stray far from their hands. They are quite active on social media such as Facebook and Instagram, enjoy online shopping, and focus on cheap and unique products rather than expensive brands. Because the unique Millennial Generation consumers refuse the ordinary and passive consumerism, it is not easy to target them with conventional marketing methods.

However, it may be that many companies are not looking into this generation, which has the greatest impact on consumption. In order to bring over the generation that has a strong individuality, you must first learn everything about them and market accordingly.

First of all, millennial consumers very much enjoy their freedom. Rather than being tied to one place, they want to be able to enjoy freedom a bit more and there is a strong perception that marriage should not be done hastily, but they should have a solid, established societal foundation first. Rather than buying houses, they prefer renting. They want to enjoy their lives without being disturbed in their lifestyle, and they value personal happiness and time very much. They prefer to share rather than possess things, they share their homes through Airbnb, use Zipcar to share and use cars as they like, and sometimes they use Uber to travel conveniently.

The pattern of consumption is also markedly different from any of the previous generations. Rather than relying on brands, they focus more on practicality, and price is particularly one of the greatest driving factors in purchase decisions. Using the internet and their mobile devices, they look up product information in advance, and after comparing prices, they buy the product at the lowest price and therefore, prices have the biggest impact on their consumption.

Finally, they have a great deal of self-confidence and a strong sense of self-love. In contrast to the older way of thinking about eating and being healthy, they prefer eating healthy food in a luxurious environment with a more moderate serving, even if it is a bit more expensive. In a time of health-consciousness, they prefer organic products even if they are more expensive. They are more in-touch with their health. Also, rather than saving up for the future, they prefer to spend more in get-away trips in order to gain self-experience. They do not skimp when it comes to spending for the experience therefore shopping is not simply the act of buying goods—it is perceived as an experience. 

So in order to reach this new and unique generation, shouldn’t we approach it in a different way than the traditional, one-sided marketing of the past?

Since Millennials are strong consumers that have the product information in the palm of their hands, through social media they are able to participate in the experience they desire. In particular, they prefer products that are scarcer than those that everyone else has and they like to share them with the people around them. Because they see price as a more important factor than the brand, the valuation standard is different from previous generations. They consider communication with consumers as quite important and therefore, the role of social marketing can only become greater than before. That is why it is important to not only have differentiated products with low prices, but have a unique online marketing experience that is customized for this generation. Because product and discount searches along with other purchasing behavior is all conducted through the internet, if you communicate with Millennials through social media and find out what they want first, you will be able to get their attention.

In order to have better marketing and be competitive in the new era where Millennials are emerging as the new consumer of the future, pay attention to them, understand them, and approach them.