How to Focus your Marketing Strategies for Millennials

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Generation Y, Echo Boomers, better known as Millennials are people reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century. They are born in 1987-2004. Their current population is 71 million, the largest cohort since the Baby Boomers. This paper will show the research found on the demographics of this cohort, the differences between older generations and the Millennials, their shopping attitudes and patterns and how they make their shopping decisions, and what marketers can do to cater to this generation.


Who are Millennials?

According to WJ Schroer (2004), “Millennials are known as incredibly sophisticated, technology wise, immune to most traditional marketing and sales pitches as they not only grew up with it all, they’ve seen it all and been exposed to it all since early childhood.

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The main activities done in their spare time are watching TV, reading, playing or listening to music, playing computer games, spending time with their friends and their families. Millennials don’t watch live TV most of the time, Usually they watch content after it has already aired on live TV. Of these videos millennials do watch, 35% comes from streaming services, such as Netflix or Hulu. 20% of their viewing time is from recorded shows or movies from their DVR. Some of the top shows they’re watching are Sunday Night Football, The Big Bang Theory, This Is Us, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Voice (Maglio, 2016). Most millennials stream their music, through Spotify, Apple Music, or Pandora, rather than listen to the radio. Spotify did a study to find what millennials listen to the most, and it ranges from Rap/ R&B to country hits to the greatest oldies of all time. Millennials really listen to all genres, depending on their attitude and interests. Some of the most popular visited websites by millennials are,,, and These sites are both shopping, blogging, and sports websites. Compared to their parents buying patterns, Millennials spend much more than save. They spend most of their money on comforts and conveniences, like Uber, overpriced coffee, and eating out. Overall, Millennials spend more freely when it comes to shopping than other generations.


Millennials are people from the age of 18 to 36 and comprise 24% of the US population. The median income for younger Millennials is $25k, while it’s almost double that ($48k) for older Millennials. There are 60.9% females and 39.1% males made up of the millennial generation. Almost 1 in 4 (23% to be exact) have a Bachelor’s degree or higher, making them the most educated generation. A big difference in the millennial generation compared to previous ones is that they are the most ethnically and racially diverse generation, with 19% being Hispanic, 14% African-American, and 5% Asian. Another difference between Millennials and the Baby Boomers that came before is that only 21% of Millennials are married, while 42% of Boomers were married at their age (Frey, 2018). A lot is changing from generation to generation, especially their buying patterns, including what influences them to buy what they buy.

Millennial Buying Patterns and Shopping Habits

Compared to the previous generations, Gen Y members are more racially and ethnically diverse and more segmented as a group, aided by the expansion in Cable TV, radio, the Internet, and technology in general. They’re so much less brand loyal and because of the rapid growth of the Internet, the trends and changes in fashion are more rapid and flexible than ever. According to Elkins (2017), “Sixty percent of Millennials admit to spending more than $4 on coffee, 79 percent will splurge to eat at the hot restaurant in town and 69 percent buy clothes they don’t necessarily need. Compared to the Gen X and Baby Boomer generations, Millennials spend a big portion of their money on Ubers, coffee costing more than $4 each, the latest electronic gadgets, unnecessary clothes, going out to eat, and going to see live music or sports events. Forbes partnered with Elite Daily, the voice of Generation Y, on a new comprehensive study. Schawbel (2015) says “Our findings confirmed that millennials are highly educated, career-driven, politically progressive and–despite popular belief–do indeed develop strong brand loyalty when presented with quality products and actively engaged by brands” . Based off this study and interviewing 1,300 Millennials, 10 new findings about Millennial buying patterns and behaviors were found. Some of the important facts they could find based off the study are that Millennials find it super important to review blogs and social media posts before making a purchase, while older generations rely more on traditional media, like the TV, magazines, and Google. Some of the other important points found are that Millennials have many opinions and attitudes towards brands they are thinking about purchasing. They want to engage with brands on social networks, they aren’t influenced by advertising at all, and they expect brands to give back to society. According to Schawbel (2015), “75% said that it’s either fairly or very important that a company gives back to society instead of just making a profit. They are sick and tired of corporate greed and are still recovering in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Millennials love brands that support their local communities and would rather purchase from them than competitors.

How do Millennials Make their Buying Decisions?

As stated before, Millennials aren’t really influenced by advertisements like generations used to be. Now the biggest impact on the way this generation shop are discounts, discounts, discounts. If there’s a coupon out there, Millennials will find it. According to Kats (2017), “November 2017 data from CouponFollow found that more than eight in 10 Millennials surveyed said they used coupon codes when shopping online and they used them often. The hunt for coupons and discounts doesn’t just end at retail stores, but Millennials search for deals at restaurants too. Because of their love for discounts, some generations might call Millennials cheap; it’s not true. They’re big spenders when it comes to certain purchases. Kats (2017) noted that “An August survey, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, found that nearly seven in 10 younger Millennials would be very likely to purchase at least one big-ticket item including furniture, a computer or a large home appliance by the end of the year. A separate research found that many of these young consumers have several triggers that motivate them to make these luxury purchases, like a big payday or when they’re feeling down. Millennials are also all for technology and its convergence with retail. After conducting a survey, Salesforce gauged how consumers felt about shopping-related technologies that help streamline the retail experience. Kats (2017) states that, “In general, Millennials were more optimistic about retail technology capabilities than their older cohorts. And let’s be honest, if anyone is going to buy something directly from a chatbot, it’s Millennials. The last deciding factor that Millennials always have in mind when making a purchase is convenience. Kats (2017) says that “Whether it’s subscribing to a meal-kit subscription service to receive a prepared meal, buying something online and having the option to return it whichever way is easiest, or being able to scan their own products in-store and then pay via an app, making sure the path to purchase as well as the post-purchase experience is seamless is important to keeping this demographic happy.

Conclusions and Suggestions to Marketers

Millennials are sophisticated, tech savvy, bargain shoppers. If there is a discount or a coupon, millennials will be the first to know about it and will make the purchase even if they don’t need or maybe even want it. They aren’t influenced by advertisements like the older generations are, but they do love everything about sales and promotions. A suggestion to marketers to cater to this cohort would be to focus less on advertising and more on promos. The more promotions your company has, the more company and brand loyal the Millennials will be.


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How to Focus Your Marketing Strategies for Millennials. (2019, Sep 19). Retrieved from