Millennials have a reputation for being fickle, disloyal and easily distracted consumers. This may be true – speaking as one myself, I’d happily sell out for a freebie no matter how miserly. But we are also optimistic, enthusiastic and social creatures who will try most anything once, if you take the time to understand what we are looking for.

Mintel’s research into the aspirations of consumers in our British Lifestyles, The British Dream UK 2014 report reads as if it were my own personal manifesto. When honing in on the responses of older Millennials (my peers floating somewhere in between ages 25-34), I find more or less, this could be my New Year’s resolution list. Millennials are generally optimistic about achieving positive changes in their lives in 2014 and it is our tendency to prioritise travel and leisure time which sets us apart from older demographics. Here are three aspirations brands can tap into to engage Millennials:

Aspiration 1: Travel to new places and go on more holidays:

There is a desire amongst Millennials not just for relaxation abroad but to learn something new and meet new people. 25% of those in full time education are interested in ‘Hop-on, hop-off’ flexible coach travel (e.g. a month exploring Europe by coach) presumably to meet new people and see as many new things as possible. Networks like Airbnb or Couchsurfing offer the same sort of thrills; cheap options and an opportunity to have fun with new friends.

Most of us will be heading to Spain for our holidays, but 31% of 25-34s say they are also very likely to take a long-haul holiday in 2014. The US is traditional, but Mexico, the UAE and Tunisia proved to be the strongest growth markets in 2013. We’re also more likely to be traveling abroad for a wedding, a cultural city break or a winter sun holiday than other age groups. The only challenge lies in coordinating our friends’ diaries/budgets/travel wish lists – it’s like herding cats. Could companies be flexible with booking and payment methods, minimum numbers and inclusions to accommodate and guide our changing plans?

Aspiration 2: Learn a new skill, get a new hobby and go out more:

For the majority of Millennials it hasn’t been easy to maintain a leisurely lifestyle in previous years but we have found ways and means. We’ve gone on working holidays, joined sites like MeetUp to expand skills and networks and stocked up on coupons to trial new restaurants or hobbies. None of these activities will go out of the window if our incomes start to improve because the appeal is clear – why pay for something when you can get more fulfillment out of getting it for “free”?

Around 50% of Millennials are happy to watch short and skippable adverts for free online content. 29% of people would be more likely to buy food and drinks at the cinema if free top-ups were available, rising to 43% of 16-24s. We’re not asking for much, even the smallest offer can be enough to draw us in if it’s free!

Aspiration 3: Exercise more and have a healthier diet:

Millennials are happy to fork out a bit more for healthier options, boot camps, free-from products, cycling to work and the list goes on. They form part of our leisure time, our lifestyles and we enjoy them. We are most likely to say “I really enjoy sports and/or exercising and do it as much as possible” (19% vs 13% of all respondents) and are most likely to exercise in our own homes (31% vs 23%) or go jogging/running outside (24% vs 14%). We enjoy exercising with others more than older age groups and there is scope for businesses to host after work running groups and cooking nights to keep us motivated and making new friends. Or why not help us to host our own exercise and cooking “boot camps” in our homes or workplaces?

So in 2014 Barcelona beaches or Eastern Europe bus trip? New Brazilian restaurant, 10km fun run or perhaps some open air cinema? Maybe I can squeeze in all of the above!

Consumer Research

Consumer research is about people. What they see, what they do, what they buy. What they eat, what they drink. What they think, what they choose and aspire to.

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