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

“My work schedule can be hectic, so I snack on nuts, berries, or other non-deadly foods during any downtime.”

—Male, 32, KY

AwesomenessTV and fashion/beauty brands are coming together to make branded series for Gen Z. In the past, AwesomenessTV has worked with numerous brands to produce original content, including CoverGirl and Kohl’s. Now they’re planning a 24-part docu-series with Hollister called “This is Summer,” following teens’ high school journeys—while they’re clad in shoppable Hollister clothing of course. Our own Chief Content Officer explains that Ypulse has “found Gen Z to be fairly open to watching sponsored entertainment,” with 77% of 13-17-year-olds agreeing, "As long as the story is interesting, I don't mind that it is sponsored." (Glossy)

Fullscreen agrees that Gen Z is the generation that’s most receptive to branded content. Their survey found over half of Gen Z doesn’t mind even undisclosed branded content, and significantly more Gen Z teens than Millennials have engaged with social branded content (viewing photos, liking and sharing content and tagging friends) in the past six months. Influencer marketing wins out with the group, with over half of teens preferring influencer content to pre-roll, sponsored posts, banners, and traditional TV commercials. The sweet spot for advertisers may be branded video, especially when influencers are involved. (TubefilterAdweek)

Graduation spending is expected to reach a record $5.6 billion for the Class of 2017. Over half of the graduation gifts given will be cash, followed by greeting cards, gift cards, apparel, and electronic devices. Another trend for the year is more and more peers giving each other gifts, with a 6% lift year over year. Younger consumers will spend an average of $78.42 ,compared to 45-54-year-olds’ $119.84 and 65-and-over’s $112.34, and while greeting cards are also most popular, they’re also almost twice as likely to gift clothing. (ConsumerAffairs)

Instagram has the “most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing,” followed by Snapchat, according to a recent study. The image-centric platforms could “driv[e] feelings of inadequacy and anxiety,” and were rated the most poorly for their impacts on sleep, FOMO, and body image. Out of the top five most popular social media platforms, YouTube was the only one that earned a positive score. The silver lining? Some argue the evaluation is “blaming the medium for the message,” and social media/online communities are also Gen Z and Millennials’ top resource for learning about “mindfulness, meditation, and wellness,” according to Ypulse data. (The Guardian)

Lego is being called the “most powerful brand in the world,” beating out Google, Visa, and Nike. Brand Finance’s latest valuation report shows Lego’s brand value increased 68% over last year, looking at metrics like “familiarity, loyalty, promotion, marketing investment, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation.” At least some of the lift can be attributed to the successful movie franchise (The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie) and its strategic partnership with Star Wars.

(Business Insider)

“I kind of don't like the commercialization of fandom culture…However, creating licensed products is one way a brand could interact.”

—Male, 24, MO

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