Millennials may just change the nature of business and what type of products and services are likely to be rewarded in the market. Millennials are significantly different than Baby Boomers and have been one of the hardest hit by the recession making them more focused on different aspects of life. This different focus impacts their perception of what they are looking for in the market and what they are likely to spend their money on.
Millennials communicate differently than previous generations and use technology to talk to each other (1). This means that information spreads quickly among this population and they stay in touch with each other through posting on Facebook, Twitter, and other methods. They are fairly transparent in their communication patterns and how they view particular issues.
According to a study conducted by Harstad Strategic Research, inc. Millenials want things like affordable college, retirement, social equality, healthcare, environmental policy, and helping the poor (2). They are focused more on the necessities of life and developing a better society that is inclusive of different types of people.
Millennials have also been hardest hit by the recession, less likely to focus exclusively on careers, have less spending money than previous generations, and are more educated (3). They are a generation of people that come to a more global market with lots of education but have learned that opportunities are not always available. They have turned to other pursuits and needs in life.
They also view family life differently than previous generations. Millennials are focused on establishing themselves first, marrying later, and avoid the devastating divorces of older generations (4). They are more interested in the quality of life and are much less interested in choosing a career over family.
This is not a physically inactive generation. They seek to create healthier lifestyles, eat better, exercise more and engage in more physical activities (5). They purchase organic food, go to yoga classes, and seek a balance with other activities. They view life in a more holistic manner than other generations.
What does all this mean for business and investment? Those industries that are likely to do well include online education, vitamins, social media, online retailers, sporting equipment, family products, health food stores, recreational goods, and fitness companies. The Millennials represent a different way of looking at the world and are likely going to change purchasing patterns as they move into their peak earning and spending years. Companies that find their core base retiring or passing away will need to find new ways of reaching this soon to be powerful new demographic.