The Digital and Social Habits of Millennials

Press enter to search
Close search
Open Menu

The Digital and Social Habits of Millennials


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A new study provides information on a range of digital and social habits of American Millennials, as well as their attitudes in the areas of cause marketing, grocery, restaurants, apparel and travel.

Barkley, one of the largest U.S. independent marketing agencies, in partnership with Service Management Group and the Boston Consulting Group, released findings from a groundbreaking study called, "American Millennials: Deciphering the Enigma Generation," based on a survey of more than 5,000 respondents and 3.9 million data points.

"Since the Millennials generation is larger than the baby boomers and three times bigger than Generation X, marketers' understanding of Millennials' needs, tastes and behaviors will clearly shape current and future business decisions," said Jeff Fromm, Barkley's senior vice president.

Millennials, compared to other generations, reported greater awareness of newer, youth-oriented cause marketing campaigns such as Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty (33 percent vs. 21 percent) or Gap RED (26 percent vs. 9 percent).They report greater exposure to campaigns through social media (40 percent vs. 22 percent) and online news (28 percent vs. 22 percent), while non-Millennials rely on newspapers and direct mail.

Millennials appear to have substituted television and print media for the increased online activity and media consumption. Millennials watch significantly less TV than non-Millennials. Fewer Millennials report watching 20-plus hours/week (26 percent vs. 49 percent). When they are not watching live TV, Millennials are much more likely to watch shows mainly on their laptops (42 percent vs. 18 percent), with DVR (40 percent vs. 36 percent), or on demand (26 percent vs. 18 percent).

Perhaps because of their need to share and to find commonalities, 70 percent of Millennials reported feeling more excited when their friends agreed with them about where to shop, eat and play. Only 48 percent of older adults were as heavily influenced by their friends and colleagues. Additionally, Millennials gather information on products and services from more channels. More Millennials than non-Millennials reported using a mobile device while shopping to research products (50 percent vs. 21 percent).

While the majority of all respondents shop alone (60 percent Millennials, 69 percent non- Millennials), Millennials are more likely to shop for groceries with others vs. non-Millennials. Plus, Millennials report more shopping than non-Millennials with family unit, spouse and children (13 percent vs. 6 percent), and with adult friends (4 percent vs. 2 percent).

Millennials seek a broader range of activities, think globally and report a greater desire to travel. The large majority of Millennials (70 percent) want to visit every continent in their lifetime. Fewer than half of older adults report that goal.

Not only do Millennials report a desire for adventure, but they also think life should be fun. Whether shopping, dining out or immersed in their mobile devices, Millennials prefer the music turned up and a casual atmosphere.

Millennials accounted for 18 percent of their monthly restaurant spend in the fast-casual format, compared to only 13 percent for non-Millennials. Additionally, Millennials crave snacking opportunities, and are more than twice as likely as older people to seek them out mid-morning, mid-afternoon and late at night.

More detailed findings from the study will be shared at the"Share Like Buy" conference, being held Sept. 22 to 23 in San Francisco. Aimed at all marketers who must forge new relationships with American Millennials, the conference will educate attendees on how to market with Millennials rather than to them. Confirmed conference participants and speakers include representatives from Facebook, MTV, Sony Music, Frito-Lay, Forbes Magazine, Forrester, Spiral 16 and many other thought leaders from the marketing industry.

Founded in 1964, Barkley offers a full range of marketing communications services including advertising, public relations, cause branding, sponsorships and events, relationship marketing, social media, design, media planning and buying, motion graphics, research and interactive marketing.