Why Millennials aren't who you think they are

It’s really hard to miss reading or hearing about Millennials. They’re almost a buzzword in the restaurant, retail, location-based leisure and Internet and electronic device industries. Millennials, also known as Generation-Y or Gen-Y for short, are those people born between 1977 and 1995 (definitions vary slightly  from these years, depending on the pollsters, often 1980-1995). The Millennial Generation is composed of 80 million people in the United States, a little over one-quarter of the entire population, and their households account for 22% of all community-based entertainment spending, 23% of all restaurant spending and 30% of all away-from-home alcohol spending.

Recently Barkey, an advertising agency, the Boston Consulting Group, a consumer research company, and the Service Management Group partnered in a study of  Millennials called American Millennials: Deciphering the Enigma Generation. The study found that Millennials are not the homogeneous cohort the press would have us believe, but rather they break down into six distinct segments.

Hip-ennial 29% I can make the world a better place.
You would immediately think that “hip” means trends in this instance but it’s clearly not. These are Millennials that wholeheartedly believe that they can have an impact on the world and make it better. They are aware of what’s going on globally, give to charity and consume information regularly. Although they read social media content, they don’t produce it. This group is dominated by underemployed females, which is no surprise because many are students and homemakers.

Millennial Mom 22% I love to work out, travel and pamper my baby.
They act like moms, despite being young. They enjoy traveling, getting in shape and treating their “children” like they were treated (pampered). They are confident with themselves, are very family-oriented, and are proficient with technology. They are really intense with how they handle online conversations and want to join them. They care more about themselves than others and are sometimes isolated by their peer group because of it.

Anti-Millennial 16% I’m too busy taking care of my business and my family to worry about too much.
They don’t care about anything else other than their business and their family, which goes against traditional millennial values. Most Millennials want work-life balance. They don’t spend money on green products and services like most Millennials do. They seek comfort instead of change, whereas most Millennials embrace different activities to make life more interesting. There are more females in this group and many are Hispanics from the western part of the US.

Gadget Guru 13% It’s a great day to be me.
They are always looking for the next big gadget, usually from Apple. They will be the first in line to get the iPad 4 and their clothes are interwoven with technology. They are highly egotistical, wired, free spirited and have a laid back approach to life. They are all hardwired and they contribute constantly to all the social networking sites. They tweeted the Instagram acquisition announcement immediately when it came out and told all of their friends in order to feel cool. Gadget Guru’s are male dominated and single because they live in their own world.

Clean & Green Millennial 10% I take care of myself and the world around me
These are the shining white nights. They take care of themselves and support everyone around them. They aspire to work for social organizations, are cause driven, health-focused, green and have a positive energy surrounding them. They swarm social networks to contribute content in support of their philanthropic causes. They are a male dominated group of full-time students and are likely to be Hispanics.

Old-School Millennial 10% Connecting on Facebook is too impersonal; let’s meet up for coffee
They go against many of the typical millennial rituals, including waking up for breakfast while updating their Facebook account. They would rather meet you in person than speak to you online or through text. This rare breed doesn’t use technology and is very charitable (an attribute that surprisingly few Millennials have). They are independent and self-directed, whereas most Millennials wants mentors and constant feedback from their managers. They read books instead of blogs and they are older and more likely to be Hispanic.

The Barkey-BCG-Service Management Group study found that Millennials determine brand value differently than older generations. They also include in their value equation participatory benefits, as they want to co-create the products and services they buy (this would include entertainment experiences) and the marketing and social media for them.

Millennials like to share with their friends, often online. The study found that making Millennials feel good about what they buy is one of the top ways to get Millennials to share a brand with others. Having a purpose that inspires them is one of the most likely ways to create shareworthiness with Millennials.

To see a short video about the trends the Barkey-BCG study uncovered, click here.