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Shocking Millennial Marketing Statistics & Trends in 2023

By Larisa Bedgood

It's hard to believe it was ten years ago when Time Magazine released their iconic millennial cover story, The ME ME ME Generation. Flash forward to 2023 and millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 – are now 27 to 42 years old and the largest generation by size – surpassing baby boomers.

Millennials grew up in a time of rapid technological advancements and globalization. They are often referred to as digital natives, as they were the first to fully embrace and adapt to the digital revolution. Further, millennials are highly connected through social media and smartphones — and their tech-savviness has reshaped communication, entertainment, and even industries like retail and marketing.

Millennials are known for their ambition and focus on personal and professional development, seeking work-life balance and meaningful experiences. They are a generation that values autonomy, entrepreneurship, and the pursuit of fulfilling careers aligned with their passions and values.

At the same time, millennials have faced unique challenges. Many entered the workforce during or shortly after the global financial crisis of 2008, which affected their career prospects and financial stability. They have grappled with increasing student loan debt, rising costs of living, and a competitive job market.

Financial Factors Impacting Millennials Versus Previous Generations

Consumer Affairs and Economic Policy Institute (EPI) shed light on several insights:

  • Millennials are paying 100 percent more on average for their homes versus baby boomer home prices from the 1970s.
  • Young adults today have 86 percent less purchasing power today compared to baby boomers had when they were in their 20s.
  • The medium rent is 150 percent more than the average rent in 1970.
  • The average price of tuition at a public four-year college has increased 310 percent for millennials versus baby boomers – rising from the average of $2,768 per year in the 1970s to an average of $11,360 per year in 2021.
  • Millennials pay 57 percent more per gallon of gas than baby boomers did when they were in their 20s.
  • Between 1979 and 2021, productivity for the typical U.S. worker has increased 64.6 percent, but the hourly pay has only increased 17.3 percent – meaning productivity has increased 3.7 times more than pay.

Millennial Marketing Statistics

Despite these economic challenges, millennials have a spending power of $2.5 trillion. A recent ESW study found more that millennials will increase e-commerce spending in 2023, also including these statistics:

  • Millennials prefer online shopping, with over 27 percent of millennials planning to spend significantly more online and less in physical retail stores.
  • Almost 50 percent more millennials will increase their online spending for health and beauty purchases compared to gen Z, and 42 percent more than gen X and baby boomers.
  • 77 percent more Millennials will increase online spending for shoes and clothing compared to baby boomers.
  • 25 percent of millennials will spend more on electronic products.

Social and Economic Trends Impacting Millennials in 2023

Understanding millennials is key to connecting with them. According to a recent study from Deloitte:

  • 31 percent of millennials are very satisfied with work/life balance compared to 18 percent in 2019.
  • 42 percent of millennials selected cost of living as a top concern in 2023 compared to 36 percent in 2022.
  • 52 percent of millennials are living paycheck to paycheck compared to 47 percent in 2022.
  • 37 percent have taken on a side job for extra money versus 33 percent in 2022.
  • 75 percent of millennials who are currently working remotely, or hybrid, would consider looking for a new job if their employer asked them to work full time in office.

Leading Marketing Channels to Reach Millennials

  • 21 percent of millennials use a social media app such as Facebook Marketplace or Instagram Shop to make purchases, compared to 13 percent of gen X and 3 percent of baby boomers, according to Statista.
  • According to USPS, 62 percent of millennial respondents in a recent survey said they visited a store in the past month because of a promotion they received through direct mail.
  • An Adobe survey found that 60 percent of millennials contact customer service using social media. And millennials like to show their love, with 42 percent giving positive reviews for a product on social media, more than any other generation group.
  • 75 percent of millennials use social media to interact with brands.
  • 47 percent of millennials learn about new trends on social media.

Connecting with Millennials

  • Mobile-First Approach: In 2023, it's expected that mobile marketing will continue to dominate, with a focus on responsive design, mobile-optimized websites, and mobile advertising strategies.

  • Social Media Dominance: As marketers all know, millennials are heavy users of social media platforms. Engaging with millennials through platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter remains crucial. Brands are expected to connect with this demographic with influencer marketing, user-generated content that brings something of interest and value, and authentic storytelling.

  • Video Content Reigns: Millennials have shown a preference for video content over traditional forms of media. Videos have a higher engagement rate and are more likely to be shared. Brands are likely to invest more in video marketing, including live streaming and interactive content.

  • Personalization and Customization: Millennials appreciate personalized experiences and tailored content. Marketers are expected to use data-driven strategies to understand their preferences and deliver targeted messaging. Personalized marketing and product recommendations are likely to be key strategies.

  • CTV: Millennials, as a digitally native generation, have embraced Connected TV (CTV) as a popular form of entertainment consumption. They often opt for streaming services and CTV platforms over traditional television, seeking on-demand content and personalized viewing experiences. Marketers targeting millennials can leverage CTV advertising to reach this audience, capitalizing on the precise targeting capabilities and interactive features offered by CTV platforms to deliver relevant and engaging ad experiences.

To effectively reach millennials, marketers need to understand and adapt to their unique preferences and behaviors. Ultimately, brands that align with their values, build trust, establish an emotional connection, and offer value-driven experiences are crucial to successfully engage and build lasting relationships with millennials.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Larisa Bedgood is VP of marketing from Porch Group Media.