Segmentation is Key to Connecting With Millennials in Meaningful Way

By Lyndsay McGregor

Originally published on Sourcing Journal.

When marketing to Millennials, those consumers generally born between 1981 and 2000, take care not to consider the generation as one big unit. According to a newreport from Shullman Research Center, they are not all alike and marketers who neglect to segment them into smaller subgroups will only curb their own growth.

“Given the 20-year age span of this generation, their buying power varies dramatically, as well as their top worries and financial goals,” the report said. “It’s our point of view that marketers who treat all Millennials (also called Generation Y) with a cookie-cutter approach and target them as one monolithic generation most likely will end up only with the crumbs.”

As part of the Fall 2015 wave of its “Luxury, Affluence and Wealth Pulse,” Shullman surveyed 560 adults aged 18 to 34 in August 2015, and found that there are stark differences among two separate age segments within the group.

Only 9 percent of those aged 18 to 24 were married, compared to 58 percent of those aged 30 to 34, while only 16 percent of the youngest adult Millennials had children, versus 61 percent of the oldest. Furthermore, only 22 percent of the youngest segment was employed full-time, but 56 percent of the oldest group was. Those differences therefore imply diverse lifestyles, expectations and options.

“Although ‘Millennials’ is a useful distinction when compared with the three older generations, it is evident that this generation, whose ages span 20 years (from teenagers to mature adults), is anything but homogeneous and needs to be understood by marketers according to its age segments as well as other segmentation approaches such as gender, etcetera,” the report continued.

When it comes to buying power, for instance, a good number of Gen Y-ers are still living with their parents. Meanwhile, personal income increases as age increases. Fifty-eight percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 said they earned less than $25,000, compared to 37 percent of those aged 25 to 29 and 32 percent of the oldest group. Just 4 percent of the youngest adults surveyed said they make at least $50,000, versus 16 percent of the middle segment and 22 percent of those aged 30 to 34.

Their concerns contrast, too: nearly half of the youngest Millennials are worried about “being out of work and finding a good job,” while their family’s health is a source of great anxiety for 33 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds and a third of the oldest ones are most apprehensive about their own health.

“When presented with a list of 21 potential financial goals, about half of all adult Millennials indicated that they are aiming to have enough money for daily living expenses, to improve their standard of living and to have enough money for emergency expenses,” the report concluded. “Notably, these three financial goal statistics are driven by the goals of the youngest age segment, of which about 60 percent selected these goals, compared with smaller percentages of the two older Millennial age segments.”

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