Millennials make consumer choices that reflect their personal values, and generally expect more than older generations when it comes to a brand’s stance on political and social issues.
According to a recent report by digital politics and policy outlet The Morning Consult, those choices offer a clear indication of how brands should navigate social and political issues if they want to win favor among this coveted demographic.
The report polled thousands of U.S. adults between the ages of 18 and 29 and asked them to rank nearly two-dozen different values — including integrity, spirituality and compassion, among others — to determine how much importance Millennials place on each variable in their personal lives
Millennials’ most prized value, according to the report, is honesty (77 percent), followed by reliability and helping family (both 74 percent) and compassion and commitment (both 72 percent).
The report found that Millennials care more about helping people of the world than older generations (52 percent, versus 43 percent of Gen Xers and 37 percent of Baby Boomers) and place less emphasis than their counterparts on the need to respect authority (47 percent, versus 55 percent for Gen Xers and 63 percent for Boomers).
These values have an undeniable effect on Millennials’ choices when it comes to paying for goods and services. For example, only 25 percent said they'd buy something from a company that enacted labor practices they didn’t approve of, and nearly a third (29 percent) said they won’t buy goods or services from companies if they knew those companies had political positions different from their own.
By contrast, more than half (51 percent) of Millennials polled said their opinion of a company is improved when they discover that company pays its employees well, and 40 percent said the same about a company that was known as a place where people liked to work.
While the Morning Consult report suggests that Millennials are more globally conscious than older consumers, it also found the average Millennial doesn’t seem to pay close particularly attention to brands’ politics.
Respondents aged 18-29 were asked: If you found out a company did each of the following, would it make you like the company more or less?
Only 15 percent said they pay “a great deal of attention” to ethical and political matters relating to the companies they buy goods and services from, and less than a quarter (24 percent) said they’ve boycotted a company in the last year. Of that group that admitting participating in boycotts, only 26 percent said their actions were politically-motivated.
Some social issues also take clear precedence over others. While Millennials are generally likely to track “liberal” issues like abortion and gun control, other issues remain more or less off the radar. For example, Millennials are far less likely than older generations to care whether a company manufactures its goods in America: fewer than four in ten Millennials (39 percent) said they’d like a company more if they knew its products were “American Made,” compared to 58 percent of Boomers.
Millennials’ most beloved 10 brands in terms of net favorability — drawn from a prospective list of about 1,900 brand names — are listed below.
YouTube (82 percent); Google (81 percent); Netflix (80 percent); Amazon (74 percent); Sony (72 percent); Pixar and Hershey (tie at 71 percent); UPS (69 percent) and Dollar Tree (tie at 69 percent) and Colgate (68 percent).
Morning Consult’s “What Millennials Expect from Your Brand” report was based on a June online survey of more than 2,200 U.S. adults.