We’ve all heard the millennial myths, but the truth is this is a generation more educated and more informed than any generation before them who is now entering their consumer prime.

As a business, you underestimate the millennial at your peril. Here’s an insight into the millennial consumer, and why it just makes business sense to ensure their needs are met.

Who are the Millennials?

Born between 1982 and 1998, the millennial is the last generation of the 20th century and the first to grow up in a truly tech world. This is the generation born into an age of the internet.

They’ve witnessed the birth of the smartphone, are responsible for the rise of Facebook, have willingly embraced the iPad, and officially seen the adoption of “Google” as a verb.

But it hasn’t been the easiest ride. They’ve come of age during the GFC, saw the turbulence of a shifting world economic order through events like Brexit, and have more information at their fingertips when making decisions than any generation before.

Millennials now make up 29% of Australia’s population, comprising 4.2 million people, and they have a combined disposable income of $530 million.

The Nielsen Millennial Report 2017 indicates millennials have an average personal income of $71,000 and 40% of millennials are young families. Almost a third (31%) hold a bachelor’s degree, and one in five speak a second language although 80% were born here in Australia.

Just under half of the millennial population are in white collar occupations, with 17% being classed as professionals.

Already successful, they are also just entering their earning prime, progressively ousting Generation X as the rightful heirs to the corporate throne.

“Today Millennials are worth 7% of the retail market,” Nielsen notes. “… by 2021 their share will jump to 17%. This means that over the next five years millennials will account for a growth of $6.1 billion within retail, demonstrating the immense buying power this generation will hold in the future.”

Oh, so savvy

Nine in 10 millennials have a smart phone and chances are they have more internet-connected devices readily available in their homes. The average older millennial has eight devices, while their younger peers have 11.

That means they’re more connected, more informed and more digitally savvy than any consumer before them and boy do they know how to work it to effect.

They are more likely to use social media to review or recommend products, and more likely to commit to a brand as a result.

An astounding 85% of younger millennials have a Facebook profile, while 80% of their older peers also boast an account.

Meanwhile, this consumer is about the ethos more than the product, and being socially aware truly matters in the millennial world.

Forbes explains: “As a whole, millennials tend to be generous with their time, money and influence. They freely use their social media platforms to raise awareness and money for causes important to them”.

As they enter the prime spending era of their lives, they’re looking for brands that reflect what they stand for and they’ll reward them as a result.

In 2014, Adweek reported: “Millennials consider themselves civic-minded and active participants in today’s world, and that it’s up to them to assume the responsibility of making a lasting, positive impact on the future. Millennials have surpassed simply wanting help in supporting causes and are starting to demand that others, especially companies, do their part.”

In effect, that means they’re seeking to work for and patronise socially-minded businesses. And as the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017 notes, they believe business can contribute to education, skills, and training; economic stability; cybersecurity; health care and disease prevention; unemployment; climate change; and unemployment.

The upshot for business

If you’re targeting the millennial consumer as a business (and you should be), you need to be paying attention to the ethos behind your brand.

You should be sharing your message on social media, and highlighting your environmental and social credentials.

Far from splashing the cash, this generation is thrifty.

Neilsen found millennials “make fewer shopping trips per year than their older counterparts and spend less – $48 versus $58 per trip for Generation X (37-46).

But they want some social bang for their buck.

Combine ethos with the customer experience and you could well hit the mark. Arguably that mark is well worth the effort because that much maligned millennial consumer is just about to take the spending helm.

Ignore them at your peril, dismiss them to your demise. The millennial is now centre-stage and business needs to live up to their desires.

If the millennial is among the ideal clients your business is looking to target, I am available to assist. Tune in to the webinar at Business Business Business to learn more about identifying your ideal client, or find out more about how we can work togther here.