The Millennial Consumer

The Millennial Consumer

Title image

The Millennial Consumer

  • Add To Interests
  • PDF

  • Related Articles
    The Risk of Stereotyping

    Our survey asked U.S. Millennials and non-Millennials which words best describe the Millennial generation. While Millennials’ perceptions of themselves are generally favorable, non-Millennials tend to view them far less kindly, often referring to them as “spoiled,” “lazy,” or “entitled.” (See Exhibit 2.) These perceptions may be coloring how executives view the Millennial consumer, preventing companies from understanding and fully addressing the product and service needs of this generation—and establishing strong brand relationships.


    We found a generation engaged in consuming and influencing, one that embraces business and government and believes that such institutions can bring about global change, one that is generally optimistic, and one that has often-unexpected attitudes and behaviors. Those companies that truly “get” the Millennials and engage with them appropriately have an opportunity to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and forge long-term relationships with their customers.

    Our research did confirm one stereotype: U.S. Millennials are extremely comfortable with technology. They are “digital natives,” meaning that they’ve largely grown up with technology and social media, using these new tools as a natural, integral part of life and work. Millennials consider themselves fast adopters of new technologies and applications, and they are far more likely than non-Millennials to be the very first or among the first to try a new technology. They also tend to own multiple devices such as smartphones, tablets, and gaming systems. More U.S. Millennials than non-Millennials reported using MP3 players (72 percent versus 44 percent), gaming platforms (67 percent versus 41 percent), and smartphones (59 percent versus 33 percent), while more non-Millennials reported using desktop computers at home (80 percent versus 63 percent) and basic cell phones (66 percent versus 46 percent). As a result, U.S. Millennials are much more likely to multitask while online, constantly moving across platforms—mobile, social, PC, and gaming.

    Both groups spend roughly the same amount of time online, but Millennials are more likely to use the Internet as a platform to broadcast their thoughts and experiences and to contribute user-generated content. They are far more engaged in activities such as rating products and services (60 percent versus 46 percent of non-Millennials) and uploading videos, images, and blog entries to the Web (60 percent versus 29 percent).

    It’s no surprise that U.S. Millennials spend less time reading printed books and watching TV. Only 26 percent watch TV for 20 hours or more per week (compared with 49 percent of non-Millennials), and when they do watch, they’re more likely to do so on their computers through services such as Hulu (42 percent versus 18 percent).