From their interests and passions to their expectations of brands, these are the trends that are shifting the way that young consumers see the world…
Do you know why Millennials and teens think fitting in is passé? What they think about brands that “waste their time?” How they’re fueling trends around inclusivity, style, health, and authenticity? Why they’re being drawn to social platforms that are more “real?” Our newest trends is coming out in just a few weeks—so we’re taking this time to check in and make sure you’ve read all about the still-very-relevant insights and implications in our archive. These are ten Millennial and teen trends that you should know:
It’s getting harder and harder to pin down the tastes of Millennials and teens. Take music. Where young consumers of previous generations might have felt most passionate about a single genre, today playlists are stacked with multiple genres, and 60% say they don’t primarily listen to one genre. But it’s not just about music. From fashion to identity and sexuality, young consumers today are not as interested in being labeled or falling into preexisting buckets. This is a genreless generation, more comfortable with blending and bending categories, and celebrating new combinations than ever before.
Social media is unquestionably a part of most young peoples’ lives, and the way they portray themselves online is a piece of their personality. Now, with many young consumers growing up with no memory of a pre-social media world, the illusion that social platforms provide has become second nature. They have become experts at carefully crafting the image they send out into the world. Access to streams of perfectly edited and crafted snapshots has started to take its toll. Though they might be aware that much of what they’re seeing on social media isn’t completely real, many young consumers—especially females—can’t help but compare their own lives and bodies to what they are following online. They can feel badly about themselves in comparison, and the perfection is starting to bother them. Now some are wondering how real their online personas should be, and others are skewering the “perfection” that online branding allows them to portray. The social media illusion is being questioned.
Not so long ago, young consumers wanted nothing more than to fit in. But now, standing out is the goal, and 66% of 13-33-year-olds agree that being the same as everyone else is boring. But it isn’t just about fashion. Celebrities that stand out and show off their distinctiveness are embraced. Their desire to be different is impacting major life milestones like weddings and parenthood, the restaurants they want to eat at, the hotels they want to stay in, and the brands they want to buy. Sameness is so yesterday—unique is the new cool.
The body positivity movement has gained serious momentum with Millennials and teens, who are broadcasting their desire to have all shapes and sizes accepted. Hashtags like #EffYourBeautyStandards and new idols like Tess Holiday have sparked a passionate community of young consumers online—and they’re looking for lasting change. Brands that make missteps with too-skinny models, over-zealous Photoshopping, or perceived fat-shaming are being called out, and are expected to apologize, make amends—and embrace the body positive mentality.
The glittery dust has settled. There is no longer any question that digital celebrities’ popularity rivals Hollywood stars’—for teens, they’re even more popular. Fame has fragmented, thanks in large part to young consumers’ preference for online content, and their desire to connect to celebrities via mediums that are more intimate than anything that has existed before. So now what? Everything has shifted, as the power of online celebrity has grown and threatens to overshadow traditional notoriety. Fame has been redefined by the next generation of viewers, and we’re officially in a new era of celebrity influencers.
Young consumers’ health-consciousness has spun out into a new realm. Workout gear has infiltrated the fashion world where athleisure is on fire. Fitness queens have taken over Instagram, where hashtags like #fitspo and #belfie connect communities of young fitness enthusiasts, and accompany endless images of six packs and spandex clad booties. Exercise plans have become almost cult movements, and 71% of 13-32-year-olds say it’s cool to work out these days. For Millennials, fitness isn’t just about working up a sweat anymore. It’s a culture, and it’s gone glam.
Algorithms and Big Data are driving a lot of the content, marketing, and experiences that are served up to young consumers, and while they appreciate the convenience and seamlessness of high-tech solutions, these are also their norm. All this tech-targeting has also led to a reality where they just aren’t surprised by much anymore. Looking to add excitement to their days and shake up the repetitive and expected, they’re increasingly seeking out experiences that surprise them, give them a dose of randomness, and provide unexpected moments of delight. Brands that veer away from the mundane and provide them with these moments are gaining their attention.
Reality bites, and Millennials are finding ways to temporarily unplug from adulthood, and all the pressures that it brings. Feeling the stresses of everyday life, they’re seeking out experiences that bring them back to a state of childhood, and insert a mini, fantasy-like break into their lives, helping them get through the unavoidable responsibilities of life, and letting them feel—for a little while— that they will never have to grow up. Whether it be a 7a.m. dance party before work, or a weekend at an adult summer camp, Millennials are finding ways to insert wholesome fun into their everyday lives. More than anything, they are looking to regain that feeling of being a carefree kid, even if just for a short period of time. They’re using these outlets to help them make the real world more manageable.
Wanting everything where and when they want it is a well-known characteristic of Millennials, and they are a generation increasingly short on patience. These days, time is considered a luxury, and one of the reasons that the on-demand economy has taken off is the desire of consumers, particularly young consumers, to cut out steps and streamline their lives so they can gain more time to do what they actually want— whether that be collecting experiences or binge-watching shows. They’re already over-scheduled and feeling busy has become the norm. So mundane, irritating, everyday tasks? Ain’t nobody got time for that. This generation is driving change and pushing the on-demand economy even further, looking for solutions to everyday annoyances that save them effort, thought, and most importantly, time.
The definition of luxury is being rewritten by Millennials. Brands that might have traditionally lured consumers with messages of exclusivity and lavishness need to prepare for the next gen of consumers, who would rather share their finds with friends and invest in quality production than seek out elite-only experiences. The definition of luxury has blurred for the generation: Luxury can mean rarity, convenience, ease of access, material sourcing—all separate from that age-old notion of expense and pretense. Even the word “luxury” might not resonate anymore. In general, material luxury goods are being passed over in favor of social experiences. In a Millennial’s mind, a rich life is as likely to mean one full of travel, new friends, food, and dynamic experiences that feed the senses as it is one of acquiring more tangible “things.”
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