By Jay Gronlund
5688709 / Pixabay
Marketers and political leaders have been frustrated for years with the reluctance of millennials to actually follow up on their complaints and take real action on brand issues. As the first digital generation, their values and perceptions are quite different from previous generations. While they voice strong opinions on social and political issues, their actual initiatives to date at the voting booths and consumer brand choices have been both mystifying and disappointing.
Younger consumers are very skeptical of their future, and for good reasons. This segment of 80 million millennials spent $600 billion in 2016, and this will grow to $1.4 trillion by 2020 (source: Accenture March 2017 study). They are also the largest generation of eligible voters, surpassing baby boomers this year: 30% of all eligible voters, which will grow to 34% in 2020, versus 28% expected for baby boomers. However, this younger group feels cut out of the mainstream, and that their future will not be nearly as bright as their parents’, which is not surprising when you realize:
- Millennials earn on average 20% less than their boomer parents did at their age, and $10,000 less than young adults in 1989 (source: January 2017 study by Young Invincibles).
- Home ownership for under 35-year-olds is at a historical low and increasingly out of reach.
- The spiraling cost of university education has put this out of reach for more young people.
- The average American millennial moves 4 times between 18 and 30, and 19 states prohibit voter registration a month before elections, a major obstacle for their ability to vote.
Their values are considerably (and understandably) more modest than previous generations. They are more risk-averse and less likely to spend money unnecessarily. They are very sensitive to social causes, and prefer brands with a pro-social message, sustainable manufacturing, and ethical business standards. Their main focus is on getting the best value, which is why they use mobile-scanning coupons often to get good promotion offers and the ideal price.
“Many younger voters in Western countries believe the current political economic system doesn’t serve them,” says David Bach of the Yale School of Management. He lists the hot issues that are finally galvanizing action by millennials–i.e. unemployment, job insecurity, unaffordable housing, climate change, and social justice.
Perhaps the greatest conundrum is their reluctance to force changes at the voting booths. They have a deep distrust of government and traditional institutions, which fuels their attitude that nothing will change. Millennials have traditionally viewed voting not as a duty; they regard it as the duty of politicians to woo them. Instead, they see parties as brands which they can choose or ignore, and would rather have the world customized to their preferences instead of a system that demands they vote for an all-or-nothing bundle of election promises, which looks uninviting to them. This is a key reason why half of millennials say they are independents compared to just a third of those 69 or over.
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Source:: Business 2 Community