As a parent of three Millennial adults, I have witnessed the gradual changes that inspire gratification and gratitude. Financial and emotional independence, consideration of consequences, and humble application for guidance in decision-making, are signs to me that they will be all right in the world. I am sure that mine are not unique reflections, in fact I recall my father-in-law saying that we all were wonderful when we reached 25!
As Millennials mature, their lifestyles also become more ‘grown-up.’ The disposable income that used to be spent on pizza, beer, and movies, begins to go in different directions. Settling into jobs, homes, and perhaps marriage and parenting, necessitates larger purchases that require delayed gratification and savings. Although they may be paying off school debt and living on a tight budget, they are making more money now and consider buying that new vehicle or home furnishings more of an investment than a financial burden. They have come to understand the benefit of building credit for that first home.
Targeted for being the largest consumer population, Millennials have been the focus of retailers and online marketing for some time. But between college debt and difficulty procuring jobs, these young people did not have the funds for bigger ticket items. While car dealers have been poised, waiting to realize the benefit of the largest generation to come of age, there was a delay that caused dealers to despair. Millennials were not buying cars, they were taking advantage of public transportation, Uber, and ZipCar. Until only recently have some of those retailers begun to see returns from their marketing efforts. In comparison to previous generations, Millennials have been later to get licenses and are only now beginning to make up a greater percentage of car sales nationally. In 2015, Millennials purchased 4 million cars and trucks. Last year they represented 27% of new car sales – up from 18% in 2010. Millennial car buyers will soon pass baby boomers and make up the largest population purchasing automobiles.
Car sales are not only increasing because Millennials have more spending power having been in the workforce longer, perhaps the fact that nearly half of the women between 18-34 years of age are now mothers has something to do with the trend. According to an article in Millennial Marketing, there are 10.8 million households with children with parents 25-34 years old. Author Jeff Fromm acutely asserts, ” A large portion of millennials have grown up. By overlooking the fact that many millennials are now parents, brands could miss changes in behavior and consumption that directly impact their bottom line.”
So what can be said about these maturing young parents? These insights were shared in the article, The Millennial Generation Becomes Parents.
They are practical consumers. Prior to parenting these Millennials purchased high-quality brands they trusted, even if it meant a higher ticket price; but after becoming parents they are willing to give up some quality for price. “Before they were parents, their buying decisions were 57% on quality. After parenthood, they buy just over 50% on quality.”
The majority are raising their children as they were raised. This traditional bent also shows up in their belief that, “children do best if a stay-at-home-mom raises them.” In spite of the fact that over 60% of these mothers are a part of the workforce, they want to have the most significant impact on their children.
They are compassionate and are socially concerned. According to Millennial Marketing, 50% of these Millennial parents say that they prefer products that support causes or charities. “The brands that win with millennial parents often help them feel better about themselves through purchases and brand engagement,” stated Fromm. In the same article, when Millennial parents were asked to complete the sentence, ‘I want my kids to…’ 82% said that they wanted their children to know that they didn’t need possessions to make them happy.
Millennials are growing up, as Jeff Fromm stated, and as we look at them in light of their values and choices, I hope you are as optimistic as I am about their future and our own.
Bershidsky, Leonid. “Millennials Are Buying Cars.” Bloomberg Gadfly. N.p., 04 Jan. 2016. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.
Fromm, Jeff. “New Research: “The Millennial Generation Becomes Parents” | Millennial Marketing.” Millennial Marketing. Futurecast, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.