Millennials; also known as Generation Y, or more simply, today’s youth.
Not too long ago, they were the most desirable demographic for marketers. And with good reason: young people with sufficient income, eager to buy the latest fashions, and impressionable enough to become repeat customers for life, were the perfect target for smart marketers.
But times are changing. The decline of the economy, along with the emergence of new technologies and platforms, has left many marketers scrambling to gain access to these once wealthy consumers.
Changing Consumer Habits of Young People
How do young people consume differently in the new economy? And how can a marketer take advantage of these transformative trends? Let’s take a look at the bad news, the good news, and share some practical tips on Changing Consumer Habits of Young People.
The Bad News
First, the bad: The Great Recession hit young people hardest. The youth unemployment rate is terrible 12%, compared to the overall rate of about 8%. Nearly a quarter of young people aged 18 to 34 don’t earn enough to cover basic needs like rent and food.
Naturally, this means they spend less. 89% of young people (18-29 years old) report that the poor economic situation affects their daily lives. 51% cut spending on entertainment and 34% spend less on gifts and groceries.
Under these conditions, it’s easy to see why marketers are less successful at reaching out to millennials.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. 50% of millennials expect their financial situation to improve next year. Young people may tighten their belts, but they are still eat more restaurants than any other age group (44% visit an upscale restaurant at least once a month, compared to 33% of Gen Xers and 24% of Gen Boomers.)
Perhaps the most important takeaway for marketers is that millennials are highly responsive to coupons, promotions, and sales. “[This] age group… 18 to 34 years old, attracts only sales and promotions,” says the financial analyst. Eric Beder.
Recent findings back up Beder’s statement: “Of all generations, millennials are the most dependent on coupons and discounts when choosing a restaurant,” according to the Generational Consumer Trend Report. Symphony IRI’s Millennial Buyer Report states that 68% of millennials say coupons influence their brand decisions compared to 53% of the general population.
How To Benefit
With this information, the savvy marketer can easily capitalize on the changing consumer habits of young people.
One approach particularly well-suited for marketing to millennials is SMS marketing, also known as text message marketing. Text messaging is the most common form of written communication among young people, far more common than email or even Facebook. Full 97% of young people with cell phones text regularly.
Text messaging marketing is a permission-based practice where consumers consent to receive promotional texts, usually by sending a text message with a keyword to a short code (for example, “Send ‘JUST’ to 555888”). Businesses then send mobile coupons, sale alerts, or event reminders, among other promotions, directly to the customer via text message.
Text marketing is especially effective for millennials due to their extensive use of text messaging and their preference for coupons and sales.
Another more common marketing strategy for millennials is social media marketing; with 92% of young people on social networks, sites like Facebook and Twitter are giving marketers unprecedented access to millennials. Advertising sales, discounts and other promotions on your brand’s social media page can be an effective way to influence the youth market.