Millennials exhibit particularly low levels of attachment to brands, according to a new report by opinion poll giant Gallup that sought to uncover and analyze the habits of Americans born between 1980 and 1996.
Only one in four Millennials — 25 percent — express an emotional or psychological attachment to a brand, product or company, according to Gallup’s report, “How Millennials Want to Work and Live.” By contrast, older generations such as Generation X and Baby Boomers exhibit higher levels of brand advocacy, gauging 28 percent and 33 percent, respectively.
Millennials’ lack of brand enthusiasm appears pervasive across industries. Only 31 percent of Millennial consumers expressed engagement with the banking sector, for example, and when it comes to hospitality, only 20 percent admitted an affinity for this industry. Only 12 percent expressed engagement with airline companies.
Not only do Millennial consumers appear to lack emotional and psychological attachment to brands, they’re also more likely than any other generation to exhibit outright antipathy toward them. The study found, for example, that 46 percent of Millennials expressed disengagement with the airline industry, and 27 percent expressed active disengagement with the insurance industry.
Spending among Millennials accounts for 28 percent of all daily, per-person consumer spending in the U.S., according to Gallup. While spending has declined among all Americans since 2008, with Millennials that downturn has been especially precipitous, as members of this generation spend an average amount of $13 less per day than those who belonged to the same age group in 2008. Strangely enough, the Gallup study also found that Millennials are 13 percent more likely to make impulse purchases than other generations.
Millennials have long been characterized as a generation seeking purpose over a paycheck. Perhaps as a result of this ethos, the Gallup report suggests that Millennials could be the generation least likely to experience fulfillment in the workforce. Only 29 percent of Millennials said they consider themselves emotionally or behaviorally connected with their jobs, 55 percent expressed indifference to them and 16 percent characterized an active disengagement — in other words, a dislike — toward the company or organization with whom they are employed. A majority — 60 percent — said they are open to new job opportunities, and 21 percent reported changing jobs within the last year.
A Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows that Millennials, currently about 70 million strong in the U.S., recently surpassed GenXers as the most represented demographic in the U.S. workforce, and now represent about a third of all U.S. workers.
It comes as no surprise that Millennials are the most wired generation: nearly three-quarters — 71 percent — say they get their news via the Internet, and around the same number — seven in 10 — admitted using the Internet to compare product prices. A vast majority — 85 percent — say they now access the Internet via mobile devices, and an overwhelming 93 percent say they use social media to connect with others.
Millennials’ penchant for digital interaction implies that members of this generation are more likely to exhibit engagement when a product or service provides digital offerings. Indeed, 84 percent of Millennials surveyed said their relationship with their bank is primarily digital, far higher than any other generation polled.
It also suggests that because Millennials rely on more channels than other generations when engaging with brands, a greater likelihood exists that they could have a disappointing experience along the way.
Reporting on the study’s key findings, Gallup editor and writer Amy Adkins concludes that the “greatest challenge for businesses seeking to engage Millennial customers is to deliver the convenience of multiple channels while maintaining a consistently positive experience across every channel.”
An abridged version of the 150-page “The How Millennials Want to Work and Live” report can be found here.