In the media, the term Millennials is often used as a stand-in for “young people.” But, because Millennials are a generational group and not an age group, slowly but surely they get older. Mintel defines Millennials as adults born between 1977 and 1994 and, in 2018, this group is aged 24-41. This means that even the youngest Millennials have likely moved out of their parents’ house, graduated from college, and entered the working world. At the older end, Millennials in their 30s and early 40s are likely on the precipice of many milestone moments including buying a house, getting married, and having kids.

As Millennials start to face major life changes, they are reconsidering their purchase habits, giving marketers another opportunity to win them over.

In recent years Millennials have been the audience most coveted by marketers because they are a large generational cohort with a good amount of disposable income. Growing up in the digital age, they also have a unique set of characteristics that set them apart from previous generations, which makes them easier to identify and reach. Millennials may be aging out of the desirable 18-34 age demographic, but they are still a valuable segment to pursue. Luckily, as this group gets older and starts to face major life changes, they are likely reconsidering their purchase habits, giving marketers another opportunity to win them over.  

Our research on marketing to US Millennials shows that they are more progressive than previous generations, more likely to believe that concepts like racial diversity and non-traditional families have a positive impact on society. Additionally, Millennials are more open to new ways of doing things, more willing to experiment with grocery delivery, streaming services, and the gig economy.

The question marketers are asking now is, how will these trends play out as Millennials get older?

It is unlikely that Millennials will change course as they age, in fact it is more probable that Millennials will double down on some of the characteristics they’re known for. As social norms shift, Millennials will probably become even more open to diversity in the US in terms of race, sexual orientation, and lifestyle. They will also continue to embrace business innovation, particularly if it makes their lives more convenient. Millennial parents will be turning to solutions from digital assistants and apps, to the gig economy, as more demands are put on their time and money.

As Millennials age, they are still a desirable target. However, their disposable income will start getting absorbed by essentials such as mortgage payments and child care bills. With this, Millennials are becoming more price sensitive, seeking out true value, and not just novelty when it comes to product purchases. As Millennials age another year, now is the time for marketers to recalibrate their approach to this group with these things in mind.

Dana Macke is an Associate Director, Mintel Reports, Lifestyles & Leisure. Dana incorporates her background in strategic marketing to deliver actionable insights on a wide range of lifestyle and leisure topics.