Five Things You Don’t Know About Millennials and Teens

It’s free content week! We're counting down our five most popular articles of 2015 so far, and giving all our readers access to them. Here is the 3rd most clicked, originally published April 27th, 2015—we hope you enjoy!

Every month, we survey 1000 13-32-year-olds to learn about young consumers' attitudes and behaviors, and today we're using recent data to highlight five things that you probably don’t know about Millennials and teens, from their mobile behavior to their spending habits. Not everything you’ve read about them is true…

1. THEY’RE MORE TRADITIONAL THAN YOU THINK. 

Hookup culture and all those “newfangled” dating apps get a lot of attention, but in reality Millennials and teens are more traditional than you might think. 50% of 13-32-year-olds have been on a formal date, 25% are in a committed relationship, and 17% are married. The majority of those in a relationship met their significant other in an old-fashioned way: 32% met at school, 22% through mutual friends/family, 9% met at work. But how real is that infamous hookup culture? Only 23% of those over 18-years-old have had a one night stand. And while it’s true that sexting is a thing—34% have sexted, and 15% have “naughty Snapchatted”—the majority want stability in their romance, with 75% saying they want to be in a long-term committed relationship.

2. THEY ARE EATING FAST FOOD.

Millennials have been accused of “killing” many a fast food brand, with 2014 filled with reports of their dining preferences dictating the future of fast food. It is true that young consumers have slowed their restaurant visits, and fast food restaurants have seen a 5% decrease in traffic amongst low income Millennials and a 16% decline from higher-income Millennials over the last seven years. Many chains are realizing that the generation is more interested in brands that invest in ingredients than those that spend on marketing. But the reality is that they ARE still spending on fast-food. According to Ypulse’s most recent spending tracker, on an average day, 33% of 13-32-year-olds spend money on fast food/take out, 23% spend on groceries, and 16% spend on dining out. Their definition of fast food might be in flux, but if brands can give them the products they want, they will spend.

3. THEY’RE INSTAGRAMMING MORE THAN THEY’RE TWEETING. 

That’s right, in Ypulse’s most recent social media tracker, Instagram overtook Twitter, with 52% of 13-32-year-olds saying they use the image-sharing network, compared to 48% who say they use Twitter. When we ask which social networks they actively post content or comment on a daily basis, 33% said Instagram while only 22% said Twitter. This daily use only intensified for teens: 39% of 13-17-year-olds are Instagramming daily, versus 21% who are tweeting. It’s a trend we’ve been watching, and calling out, for some time. Image-based platforms have seen a rapid rise in popularity thanks in part to Millennials’ visual communication tendencies, and marketers will continue to shift their strategies to visual platforms to reach young consumers. 

4. THEIR ONLINE SHOPPING IS RIVALING THEIR IRL SHOPPING.

It’s no secret that young consumers are more open than previous generations to online and mobile shopping, but now their digital spending is rivaling their IRL shopping time. Our March survey revealed that while mass merchandisers top the ranking of the places Millennials and teens have shopped in the last month, online-only stores are a very, very close second with 67% of 13-32-year-olds saying they had shopped online in the last 30 days. Those over 18-years-old were even more likely to have shopped online, with 73% reporting they had made a purchase from an online-only store, compared to 48% of 13-17-year-olds. Local grocery stores came in third on the list, and 33% said they had shopped at national chain stores like JC Penney and Kohl’s. 

5. THEY’RE IGNORING YOUR MOBILE ADS.

Yes, young consumers are hooked to their mobile devices, and brands need to reach them there. But when we ask young consumers which type of advertising they usually ignore or avoid, 63% say online ads, like banner and video ads, and 68% say mobile in-app ads. In other words, digital marketing—you’re doing it wrong. It’s not enough to be where they are, you have to be where they are, and match your message to their behavior. As more brands and platforms clue in to that fact, we’re seeing an evolution of digital marketing and pre-rolls, banner ads, and more are progressing to appeal to young consumers’ mindsets. Meanwhile, while we know for a fact that they are fast-forwarding through commercials whenever they can, only 32% say they try to ignore or avoid TV ads.  

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The Newsfeed

“The wedding trend I have noticed is the white wedding dress being phased out and an array of colors and styles being used.”

—Female, 32, FL

Millennials are about to receive “one of the largest intergenerational wealth transfers in history,” according to UBS. This comes right as they reach peak earning age, making Millennials a powerful spending force—so how can Wall Street pull their purse strings? Besides transparent business practices, they’re expecting on-demand everything across all channels. Easily-navigable banking apps and mobile-first financial advice services are must-haves to impress them. (Business Insider)

Today’s teens are having safer sex, according to a CDC report. Not only are fewer teens having sex, but those that are, are more likely to be using contraceptive methods. Compared to 1988, 9% fewer 15-19-year-old females and 16% fewer males have had sex. The teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. also hit a historic low, with 99.4% of female teens who have had sex using contraception at least once, compared to 97.7% in 2002. (CBS)

Most young consumers use ad blockers, but they don’t always mind seeing ads online—as long as their “space” is respected. Defy Media and TMI Strategy found that 13-25-year-olds were open to seeing ads that are contextually relevant and informative, and don’t interrupt their experience. Anything that “clogs their feed” is off the table, but they’re not averse to all ad placements: 78% don’t consider product placement offensive, 62% follow at least one branded account, and 44% are subscribed to a branded newsletter. (Adweek)

The future of Facebook is going to be a bit more private. Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that the platform’s new mission is to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” Connecting with friends and family will come back to the forefront, with Groups as a “lynchpin” of this “next era” to make smaller communities and more closed-circle communication a focus, instead of the cluttered public feed. (NYMag)

Japan’s Millennials would stay at one company for life, defying the job-hopping stereotype in favor of job security. From 2001-2015, the percentage of Japan’s Millennials who supported lifelong employment and one-company careers skyrocketed from 64% and 40% to 87% and 55%, respectively. In fact, last year, less than 7% of 25-34-year-olds switched jobs at all. Overall, Japanese employees leave jobs at less than half the rate of Americans, and younger Japanese workers are “even more risk averse.” (Bloomberg)

“I love reality TV shows. It's always fun to watch average people make themselves look foolish just for a shot at fame.”

—Female, 17, CA

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