What Did 2015 Teach Us About Millennials?

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Inc. recently released its list of top Millennial brands, cities, and apps of 2015. I love a nice recap, especially when it’s focused on my generation, yet it seems that after nearly 10 years of Millennials being a priority for retailers, marketers, and organizations, the collective group still haven’t cracked our consumerism code. Perhaps this will help.

 

There are a lot of great takeaways on this list, and a lot of recent coverage likely inspired by some of these findings. I encourage you to check out the full article, but here are some of my observations:

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We love simple brands. With the exception of Walmart (hey, you can get LITERALLY ANYTHING in that store), brands like Nike, Apple, Samsung, and Sony are incredibly simple. I’m not talking about their products, but their brand in particular…getting even as granular as their logos. Business Insider recently published an article detailing retailers’ responses to the dislike of tacky logos on products. Take this thought as you’d like, but if you want to attract Millennials using your brand, just get back to the basics.

 

It’s not practical for us to live on the coasts anymore. As a Millennial who tried the NYC thing and made the conscious decision to move back, I fully support this statistic. With the exception of Seattle, Millennials are relocating to places where job growth is projected to be above average, food, rent, and living expenses are affordable; amenities are plentiful; and salaries are realistic. That’s why we’re moving to places LIKE COLUMBUS, OHIO, (number 3 on the list – WOOP WOOP!) and Austin, TX, to start our careers and plant our roots.

 

We’re total nerds. A lot of us are finding jobs in science and mathematics. Whether we’re in the finance, medical, or tech industries, we’re choosing our careers based on our anticipation of future opportunities and we’re choosing companies that we feel like will be able to anticipate those opportunities, too. If you read up on this whole robot phenomenon, there’s a good chance that many of the jobs we know today will be turned over to a Watson-esque robot in a couple of decades. Just a thought.

 

There are awesome websites that cater to our short attention span and still give us great content. We love YouTube and Spotify for our sound and video bytes; BuzzFeed and Elite Daily have surpassed any other news-ish website on the list; and we’re shopping on Amazon because the world’s marketplace is at our fingertips (and it’ll ship free in two days). These sites are doing great things for quick news and entertainment, and we’re noticing.

 

We use apps for pretty much everything. We’re still adulting every day (for the most part) but in a different way than our parents did at our age. We’re talking to (and about) people around us with YikYak; we’re splitting tabs with Venmo; we’re editing photos with InstaSize; and we’re dating with Tinder. Who said we had to learn basic social skills to be functioning adults?

 

We have a pretty awesome group of athletes to look up to. Some of sports’ greatest athletes are playing in front of our very eyes. LeBron James, Steph Curry, Serena Williams, and Peyton Manning have continued to showcase their God-given talent right in front of our very eyes. And we are so proud to continually witness history.

 

We’re spending money a bit differently than anyone else. Craft booze, energy drinks, tattoos and piercings, and organic food are apparently super important to us. But you know what’s really interesting? We’re making more donations at the cash register than anyone else. This goes back to our desire to make an impact. Round up on my Kroger grocery bill to help the local food pantry? OF COURSE. I can live without those 86 cents. But the food pantry can serve a couple of meals with that.

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Kadi McDonald

No matter where she's worked, Kadi has successfully evaluated deep-rooted communications challenges and developed a plan to improve and simplify for the audience. She has shifted her professional life to one that allows her the flexibility and time to be dedicated to her passion projects. She develops and manages social media strategies for nonprofits, writes articles and blogs for a wide variety of clients and audiences, and consults on small marketing and branding projects for all types of businesses. She is a storyteller by nature and thrives in environments that crave authenticity and transparency. She works with multiple nonprofit organizations whose missions surround the ideas of community, compassion, service, and equality for all.