How do millennials compare to other consumers?


A lot is said these days about millennials, their impact on consumerism, the place and even influence they have in our modern digital world.

But, how do they compare with other consumers, those who are part of a different generation? The Boston Consulting Group surveyed 4,000 millennials between the ages of 16 to 34 and also spoke to 1,000 people who are classified as non-millennials, whose ages ranged between 35 and 40.

The research directly compared responses from both of these groups to highlight key behaviours and attitudes threaded through these generations to see if there were any particular differences between the two.

Interestingly, there were several key differences separating the two groups, which found that one tends to be actively more engaged than the other and the study also dispelled certain beliefs about the behaviours of millennials in particular.

They aren’t lazy

Despite what most people believe, the stereotype that millennials are lazy and disengaged people is exactly that – a complete stereotype. Instead of having an attitude of entitlement, millennials actually tend to be an incredibly optimistic bunch of people, particularly when it comes to matters of business and the government to influence global change.

You’ll probably notice that millennials like to be aware of almost everything that’s going on, whether this is a new slang term or matters of global politics they like to be informed and they also tend to have an opinion on everything they see or hear.

They are also much more likely to support a cause than non-millennials, especially if this involves purchasing products to support it. This may be purely because millennials can donate to charity much more easily than previous generations, thanks to their dependence on mobile devices. Most of this modern generation have integrated their card and bank information to their phones and other devices, which means that the payments they make to charities practically seamless. In fact, according to the research by The Boston Consulting Group, 34 per cent of millennials donate through their devices.

Not only will millennials give to charity but they are also more likely to share their actions or information about how to donate to causes online and over social media than other generations.

Millennials trust recommendations from their friends and peers

Rather than purely listening to big companies or news outlets, millennials prefer to put their trust in their friends and peers when it comes to believing information or even when it comes to choosing their meals, holidays and more.


To millennials, an expert isn’t necessarily the person who has the most qualifications or heavily detailed learning, instead it’s pretty much anyone who has firsthand experience of something. This is what is known as user-generated content (UGC) and crowd-sourcing collates this content to give millennials a platform of information they can use to make an informed decision on anything from where to get a good coffee to an up to date review of global politics.

Again, millennials are likely to be absorbing this UGC on their mobile devices, particularly if they are experiencing downtime, such a travel on trains or when they’re waiting for something else to start.

They are native to digital tech

While a baby boomer might find updates to technology and the constantly adapting digital technology intimidating, new technology is pretty much old news to millennials.


This is a generation that is consistently waiting for the latest piece of gadgetry to come out so they can access everything they need to in a faster and more seamless manner. Out of those asked in the survey, 59 per cent of people own smartphones and use them all the time to surf the web. In comparison, 80 per cent of non-millennials report using desktop computers instead and 60 per cent of this group didn’t own smartphones at all.

Are there any implications?

Jeff Fromm, executive vice president at Barkley advertising agency and the founder of the Share.Like.Buy millennial marketing conference, said that millennials have created what is known as the “participation economy”.

This goes back to what we were saying earlier, about millennials being interested in pretty much everything there is to know and find on the internet. Add to this the fact that they are always forward-looking to new technology and developing trends and we can see that it’s companies that have to keep up with millennial consumers, instead of the other way round.

There is no doubting that this generation is importantly influencing communication channels and brands, companies and even hotels have to appeal to millennials as they corner the market.

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