Are Millennials the New Boomers

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Thumbnail Are-Millennials-the-New-BoomersMillennials are the first generation to be born in today’s digital environment where they’ve had 24/7 access to streams of information and constant connection via technology.   Millennials have also been highly nurtured by their parents (many of which are Boomers), instilling in them an overt sense of security in today’s society. For example, even when thinking about their future old age, Millennials are significantly more likely than all other generations to indicate that if they ever need assistance, their family will take care of them.

Considering their access to the wealth of information they have had, Millennials are often described as expectant and possessing a sense of entitlement (remember the Boomers?).  While these descriptors may seem somewhat concerning, it is these very traits – many related to personal health and sustainability – that are shaping their influential attitudes and behaviors which are transforming conventional business practices. 

For the past decade the sustainability and ‘green’ movement has been driven by Boomers. However, new findings indicate that, compared to all other generations, Millennials feel most personally responsible for protecting the environment, more than they have in the past and they expect everyone else to as well, including corporations and government. This shift shows Millennials are more likely than older generations to want corporations to be mindful of their impact on the environment and society and not just concerned about profits. They are indeed a demanding generation and will spread the word about companies that do not ‘do the right thing’ for society or the environment. In fact, significantly more Millennials than all other generations indicate that when given the choice to buy a product or service, they will usually buy products from companies ‘whose values are most like their own.’ In essence, Boomers are ‘passing the baton’ to Millennials and without such behavior, a trend can become obsolete.

Attitudes are even more significant considering the high trial, early adoption, and influencing behavior of the Millennial generation.  More specifically, NMI research has found that Millennials are far more likely than all other generations to be early adopters, the first to try a new product or to try a product based on a friend’s recommendation. They are also more likely to influence others to try a product or brand.  Conversely, while they are not considered a very brand loyal group of consumers due to their high trial behavior, they do display more conformist behaviors than their older cohorts. For example, they are more likely to buy products where the brand is displayed prominently, like a brand logo on a shirt, (as long as their friends approve). Therefore, companies with practices which align with the environmental and social ideals of this aspiring, altruistic cohort will possess the fundamental framework for building a solid brand relationship with them.

Millennials are also highly oriented toward ‘alternative’ solutions to a healthy lifestyle.  Whereas Boomers questioned authority and Gen Xers distrusted authority, Millennials see authority as almost irrelevant.   In fact, Millennials show higher likelihood than older generations to be searching for alternatives to maintain their physical, financial, and social health.  The majority wishes their doctors knew more about alternative methods to help them manage their health conditions and are more likely to search the internet for other solutions for their condition so they don’t have to visit a doctor. Their lack of confidence in financial investment companies also has them looking for alternative ways to manage their money.  Companies may also need to think ‘alternatively’ in their marketing and advertising approach, since Millennials are more likely to want ‘self-discovery’ means to find out about new products and services on their own, compared to traditional advertising approaches.

Interestingly, Millennials report higher degrees of stress than any other generation; so much that it affects their ability to think clearly. It may have even manifested itself into their high management of health conditions such as digestive issues. They are more likely than older generations to indicate that their energy, emotional and stress levels have gotten worse over the past several years. Will this have consequences as they age?

While this generation is full of entitlement and confidence, many of the principles which define the Millennial generation are starting to shift. The real question is whether they will continue embracing health, wellness and sustainability and create a new generation of consumers who will continue to drive the momentum that Boomers have created – only time will tell.

To learn more about Millennials and their specific attitudes and category behaviors, or other unique opportunities, contact Diane Ray, V.P. Innovation, NMI, 215-513-7300 ext. 231 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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