Why should brands focus on Millennials? They are a growing group with tremendous buying power:
- There are more than 105 million Millennial shoppers with a buying power of $200 billion.
According to forecasts, by 2020, Millennials are expected to represent 46% of the total United States work force.
- Millennials are multicultural, far more than previous generations.
Diversity among younger consumers is increasing due to:
- Immigration: increase of legal permanent residents, especially from 1983 to 2015
- Interracial children: Growth in the number of multi-racial and multi-ethnic babies born in the U.S., which rose from 5% in 1980 to 10% in 2000 to 14% in 2015
Like others their age, most multicultural Millennials are tech savvy and heavy users of digital platforms. For example, 40% of Millennial males and 33% of female agreed that they would only purchase through online platforms, if they had the option to do so.
Moreover, because social media is an accessible and engaging platform for the target, they not only create connections with brands through digital platforms, they expect brands to reciprocate. “62% of millennials agree they are more likely to be loyal to a brand if it engages with them on social networks.”
Millennials now use social media to “showcase their values:”
- “35% are likely to use social media to call-out brands that mishandle social issues they care about”
- “65% of millennials expect a brand to play a role in supporting causes”
Compared to their non-Hispanic White contemporaries, multicultural Millennials are more inclined to prefer brands that support social causes.
Similarly, females are more likely to believe that “brands should constantly support social causes” than males (29% vs. 20%). They also demonstrate a stronger preference for brands that support causes than males (52% vs. 44%).
Qualitative research with 80 Millennials (20 each from White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian/Middle Eastern populations) uncovered that among these multicultural Millennials, the top five social causes they cited as important to them were racial discrimination, gender equality, LGBQ issues, environment, and healthcare/mental health.
The study also helped to assess response to a video ad for Colgate Palmolive’s “Black Girls Code” campaign. The video had a view through rate of 64%, more than triple the YouTube average of 20%. Participants remarked that, although the messaging would not necessarily spur them to buy Colgate brands, it strengthened their attachment to Colgate brands and would enable them to more easily overlook future communications issues related to multi-culturalism on Colgate’s part.
Participants also mentioned that they felt proud when purchasing from those brands that incorporate social causes in their advertising or are involved in CSR programs. Some were even willing to pay more for a brand that supports a cause. “Panelists mentioned Toms [shoes] and Patagonia as being pricier, but felt pride in wearing brands that stand for something beyond making a profit”
The presentation offered four best practices for brands to enable them to connect to Millennials in ads about causes or with multi-cultural themes:
- Be authentic
- Be brand relevant
- Be relatable
- Be light hearted
Importantly, brands should balance the risks and rewards of advertising that incorporates social messages and their CSR programs: 45% of Millennials “are likely to boycott brands that mishandle social issues” vs. 10% that “are likely to buy from brands that tackle social issues.” Still, the success that advertising with social issues can offer, if done well, can be powerful for brands as the population grows increasingly diverse.
Presented at CONSUMERxSCIENCE 2018, March 28, 2018.