Millennials are no longer happy with the stereotypes attributed to them over the past decade. They and their fast growing Gen Z counterparts have had it with labels. As a matter of fact, most millennials don’t even want to be called millennials. They are exiting their cocoon of their early 20s and headed towards full-blown adulthood, ready to take us on. Good for them! We need them.
They have been derided for being entitled and self-absorbed. However, millennials are now a little older, a little wiser, and making their way up the corporate ladder as they become comfortable in their own skin. They are taking on leadership roles as professionals, shedding their student loan debt, buying homes, starting families, and planning for the less-distant future.
What does this mean for the millennial generation and for all of us? A lot! What defining characteristics of their generation will stay and what will change as they evolve? And what aspects of their generational culture will they bring with them into their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond?
What Will Stay the Same
Millennials Will Stay Frugal
You know your grandfather who hasn’t bought a new pair of underwear since 1967 and he only bought them because your grandma threatened to leave him if he didn’t? Of course you do, that is almost everyone’s grandpa!
The point is, old habits die hard. And after almost two decades of scrapping their way out of student debt, millennials are sure to bring their frugal mindset that has helped them survive (days of living on Ramen and Oreos) with them into adulthood and beyond.
In their 20s and 30s, millennials have shown that a good deal beats all else. Nothing—not brand recognition, not social cache—will distract them from an opportunity to save a few bucks and not be wasteful. What they do love is customer loyalty programs, price matching, and any other cost-slashing schemes that can provide value to them and to the world.
They hate to waste, like to recycle, always turn the lights off, save water, and care about the future of the world.
Much like your grandfather’s underwear, we expect millennials to proudly take these frugal and waste prevention traits well into their twilight years.
Seamless Work Life Balance
When millennials finally take the reins over the workplace, you can expect work life balance—a la Scandinavian countries–to be a priority. Paid maternity, flexible working hours, working remotely, paid vacations, and child care allowances are only going to become more prevalent as these types of benefits shift from office perks to office requirements.
Employers who are interested in attracting top talent should heed the early signs of this trend now and begin making preparations for the inevitable. What is currently the low grumble of a large minority will soon be the majority of workplaces as millennials expect that their life and work be integrated as seamlessly as possible. Employers who orient themselves in this way will win out, leaving those too stubborn or unwilling to change in the dust.
Millennials have never been much for the designer brands and the social cache that comes from spending on material goods. Instead, they have always chosen to spend on experiences.
According to a study conducted by Harris, 3 out of 4 millennials would prefer to spend on an experience than on a material good and 77% report their best memories are from enjoying a live event. That is about a strong a preference as any.
We see this trend of experiential spending continuing into the future. Millennials will continue to use their money for experiences: travel, outdoor adventures, live music, craft beer and coffee, and other experiential spending.
How Millennials Will Change
They Will Become Slightly More Conservative
Like any generation, what starts out as a group of hippies hell-bent on changing the world ends up looking more like an Intel staff photo from 1985. As they get older, generations tend to become a little more conservative, a little less interested in challenging norms, and a little weary of younger generations.
We foresee millennials going a similar route. They will likely reel in their liberal values a bit, staying more liberal than their parents but more conservative than their children’s generation. This will mean that millennials will likely face the same predicament when they become senior staff that Boomers have when facing millennials: large generational gaps…
They Will Have Families… Finally!
With the last student loan payments lifted off their shoulders, millennials will enjoy the sweet, sweet victory of moving out of their parent’s homes… and taking on a home mortgage.
Though millennials are well behind their parents timeline to adulthood, early indications suggest that they will head down more conventional paths. This will, finally, include buying homes, becoming proactive over their finances, and having children.
Reaching the milestones of homeownership and parenthood will also mean millennials will be making equally adult-like purchases. For certain sectors, this will mean 80 million new customers and some sectors are already looking to corner the market. For example, Home Depot has begun providing tutorials focused around first time homeowners. Banks have also caught on, using their brick and mortar locations to provide personalized finance advice to its millennial customers who are realizing the importance of personal finance for the first time.
From Mentee to Mentor
Millennials entered the workforce as a generation that had a unique craving for learning, professional development, and opportunities to glean wisdom from more senior staff. These now young and energetic mentees will slowly replace their mentors. The millennials will become the mentors to Gen Z and the generations that follow. And we expect them to do a good job of it. After all, millennials were the generation that famously placed professional development above salary in terms of workplace perks. We don’t foresee this group pulling up the ladder behind them.
Millennials are a force to be reckoned with as more and more enter full-on adulthood. Such a large group of people hitting adulthood will create incredible opportunity for both businesses and employers, as well as pose a great risk for those not agile enough to adjust to a new consumer market.
Make sure you know how to attract, retain, and engage them as customers and employees. We do at launchbox365. http://launchbox365.com
Sign up for a free consultation on how to improve your relationships with Millennials and Gen Z. dannegroni.com/socialconnect