How to get millennials to buy your products

First, stop thinking of them as a homogeneous group.  

Over 80 million strong and representing 24% of U.S. population, the millennial generation is now the largest living age cohort. While the media has painted millennials as a homogeneous group of aimless hipsters in their 20s, most are now over the age of 30 and married, with many owning homes and having children. Effective marketers, particularly those in the upscale home products category, are smart to look past outdated stereotypes of millennials to make their brands relevant for the future.

While growing up with technology was and continues to be a major force in their life, defining this generation as one homogenous group that thinks, acts, talks and responds to marketing the same way is dangerous, if not naive. On top of that, millennials represent a nearly 20-year span. The lives and life stage of a 24-year-old vs. a 39-year-old are wildly different. What they have in common are two defining events – the 2008 recession and the advent of the smart phone which took place at roughly the same time – which shaped their views, habits and behaviors relating to technology, money and adulting, as they coined it.

Millennials are actually redefining what adulthood looks like. They are slower to marry and buy homes, but they also save money for retirement earlier that past age cohorts. As their spending power rapidly increases, their tastes are becoming more discerning. For purposes of high-end home category, looking at the affluent millennials is key. Yes, they exist—and they don’t like being stereotyped. 

A few stats about Millennials:

  • They fall between ages of 24 and 39 this year (based on Pew Research’s age definition)
  • While they’re getting married later, more than half are over the age 30 are married
  • On average, at least half of Millennial households have kids
  • 2 million millennial households earn 100K+ and 77% of those make over 150k
  • 1 in 4 affluent and high net worth individuals with investable assets of $500k+ excluding primary residence, are millennials
  • Represent the largest share of homebuyers for at least 5 years now
  • 43% of Millennialsplan to purchase a home in the next five years (versus 29% of adults on average)
  • 84% of affluent Millennials, defined as 100K+ HHI or 50k in assets, own a home
  • They started saving for retirement earlier – at 24 years old on average, vs Gen X (30) and baby boomers (33)

(2016-2018 data)

Affluent/HNWIs millennials were the most engaged and biggest purchasers of luxury brand goods across a wider range of product types. According to 2016 data, they were the most likely to have purchased luxury branded goods across 6 or more product categories in the past 18 months.

What do they want?  

Spending more time with family and better work/life balance are among the affluent millennials’ top priorities, far exceeding that of their older age cohorts. The younger affluent generation is more focused on balance and seeks products and services that help them feel more productive and less strapped for time.

What do marketers need to know?    

  • Affluent millennials are adept at consuming all kinds of media and information on and offline, in a way that far exceeds past generations. While they heavily research products online, they also rely on all forms of media, including print. This is particularly true for affluent millennials and the premium home product category, which is dominant in the lifestyle magazine space for a reason.
  • Video and social media are critical areas of focus for content development, as millennials rank both as their top two online activities outside of work, far more so than their older age cohorts. It’s where they go for information and inspiration. By understanding millennials are time strapped, successful brands look to make their lives easier. In that spirit, taking your content a step further to offer shoppable Instagram photos, for instance, will also be a huge hit with affluent millennials. And, they’ll reward you for it.
  • They are ready to embrace augmented reality. Unlike older generations, 3 in 4 millennials want to consume media and play games using a VR device. The affluent millennials will largely define the trend for others to follow, just as they did in other categories from organic food and avocado toast to athleisure and the luxury sneaker.
  • Online ratings and reviews are highly valued by affluent millennials. They are significantly more likely to participate in online ratings and reviews, at 59% vs 47% for non-affluent millennials. More than 1/3 regularly post on brand and product sites compared to 26% of non-affluent millennials. Paying attention to how your brand fairs in this space is critical.
  • Millennials care and want to know about your brand values – more so than past generations. Coming of age with socially conscious companies like Warby Parker and Toms has impacted their views on brands and their obligations to society. They want to know what companies and brands are doing to make the world a little better place and again, they will reward those that align with their values. More about that here. (link to article #2 -What’s your brand stand for and why does it matter?) And while it’s true they don’t display the same level of brand loyalty as older generations, they have displayed a greater willingness to try new products or brands if it speaks to their personal values and passions.So, if you find yourself debating the best way to generate leads, versus how to build your brand, it is not an either-or proposition with this customer. Authenticity in your creative and brand strategy matters just as much as your lead generation website and social media strategy.
  • Lastly, this generation places a higher value on accumulating experiences  over stuff, so the key to selling them stuff is to demonstrate how your products enable the lifestyle and experiences they long for. This ties to the affluent millennials’ desire for more work life balance and more time with family.Premium products for the home – whether that is upscale kitchen appliances and cookware, a bath renovation to include an in-home spa and sauna, or a premium outdoor grill and furnishings to create an enjoyable outdoor living space – are all enablers to what they seek most. Emphasizing what these products deliver from an experiential standpoint combined with quality and craftsmanship, authenticity and brand values or brand legacy is a winning combination for this young affluent consumer.

So, is your online digital marketing, creative strategy, social media or lead generation campaign designed to speak to the affluent millennial? The same old same old that has worked with past generations won’t have the same effect on this one. The best way to generate leads while creating a brand that appeals to these consumers is to make sure you understand them first.

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