July 1, 2013

The many faces of American Millennials

Posted by: in North America

American Millennials came under the microscope last week at a daylong event in New York hosted by youth market research firm Ypulse. While generalizations characterize much of the conversation around Millennials, this cohort is more nuanced than people think, Ypulse argued. The firm presented results of a March 2013 survey that segments Americans ages 13-31 into five distinct types: Muted Millennials (a cautious, stay-under-the-radar group that is the most likely to be unemployed), Moralistic Middles (a majority female, less urban segment that’s highly traditional), Supremes (more privileged, higher achievers and highly social), Alt. Idealists (cause-oriented and least likely to follow traditional paths) and Beta Dogs (a mostly male group that likes to party and network, is enthusiastic and passionate).

MTV’s Consumer Insights & Research group, which recently did a study examining the younger end of the generation, discussed the new stages that define adulthood: getting a job, graduating from college and moving out of their parents’ home. Whether or not they live with parents or roommates—few have the resources to live on their own—this generation sees Mom and Dad as their No. 1 resource for career, financial and household issues and advice. They are “dependently independent,” said MTV’s Jennifer Perucki-Strapp: They have a relatively loose set of rules as they grow up, but their parents are their backbone.

As Millennials grapple with a difficult economy—MTV says 60 percent of college grads they surveyed hold full-time jobs—more are taking advantage of the ability to have a second job via online outlets like Etsy and peer-to-peer services like TaskRabbit and Lyft. So said Randi Zuckerberg, who now runs a media company after working with her brother Mark as Facebook’s marketing director. Among the other tech trends she cited were “luxury on demand”—Millennials want luxe living without luxe spending, which they’re finding via services like Rent the Runway and Uber—and brands functioning as media companies to better engage these consumers. Zuckerberg’s book Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives is due out in November.

Some other themes of the day: the rising influence of video and images for this generation (“People have become obsessed with watching, often something that’s two minutes or shorter,” said Andrew Jenks of MTV’s World of Jenks), and Millennials’ expectation of immediacy. Intel’s Sandra Lopez noted that this generation expects to get search results in milliseconds, immediate points or coupons after a check-in, content on demand and delivery right now, giving rise to the “genie consumer.”

Image credit: Leland Francisco

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