Millennials – or Generation Y’ers – as they are often called, are shaping the future of design and upcoming trends. Millennials are described as people who are between the ages of 19 and 36, and they make up about 24 percent of the U.S. population. They also represent a generation in flux – while some are in college or recently graduated and are living with their parents, others are already married professionals caught in the work/family crunch. No matter what stage of life they’re in, the reality is they represent between $1 and $1.7 trillion in annual spending power,and that number will only increase as their youngest members mature.
Recently, Jack Suvack, senior director of consumer and insights for Moen, gave a presentation on this rising generation of these young consumers.
“This up-and-coming generation of young consumers is unlike any segment we have seen in the past,” he said. “They are the most educated, socially aware generation with the potential of possessing a large portion of spending power. These individuals are prepared for what lies ahead and are looking to interact with brands that can offer them a well-rounded, meaningful experience.”
Generation Y holds two-thirds of all outstanding student loan debt. They’re also waiting to start their next stage of life after college. Twenty percent have put off marriage, and 22 percent have delayed having children. In addition, the rate at which Generation Y heads their own households has declined, compared to the population growth.
Gen Y holds a clear set of values and attributes, which serves as an important lens for their everyday lives. When looking to engage with brands, these individuals seek out companies with traits that align with their own. Some of these include:
- Authenticity – This group prides themselves on being true to who they are, and they have come to expect the same from the brands they interact with on a daily basis. These individuals actively seek out companies that position themselves with integrity and promote honest communication.
- Personalization –This generation has matured under the value that everyone is unique and should be celebrated for individuality and has an innate desire to tailor their experiences to fit their needs.
- Connected Experiences –These individuals came of age in a connected world with the ability to access anyone and any piece of information at any time. A lifetime of connectivity has caused this generation to expect and value a connected existence.
- Socially Conscious –While this generation may be known as self-involved, they value the concept of social consciousness. Growing up in a globally connected environment, they are more likely to pay a premium for items offered by socially conscious brands.
So, we can see that this budding generation is educated, tech-savvy and optimistic for meaningful experiences, both personally and professionally, and expect a higher level of service and experience from the brands with which they choose to interact.
 Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University tabulations of US Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey & Intercensal Population Estimates
- By Ryan Bellinghausen