Gen Inked: Millennials’ Top Ten Tattoos

We surveyed 18-33-year-olds to find out the truth behind their ink obsession, and the most popular tattoo designs…

Close your eyes and think about how a “typical” Millennial is often shown. Did you see skinny jeans? An iPhone? Heavy framed glasses? Maybe some plaid or a beanie? Well, we’d be willing to bet there were also one or two visible tattoos on that imaginary young person as well. Their love of getting inked has made tattoos one of the most-widespread visual representations of the generation—and according to our research it’s not without reason. Our recent monthly survey dug into young consumers’ attitudes about tattoos, and we found that 20% of 18-33-year-olds (28% of 30-33-year-olds) are currently inked—and 40% of those who don’t have one yet are interested in getting one.

Tattoos are a bold physical representation of the generation’s desire to stand out. In fact, 74% of those who have one tell us their tattoo(s) make them unique, and 70% say they are proud to show off their tattoos. Getting inked is also a safe form of rebellion for the risk-averse group. Tiny, hidden tattoos and subtle piercings are in vogue and normalized, with one tattoo artist commenting to Mashable that customers seeking mini-rebellion are “minimalist Millennials," and that, "Pinterest displays these as acceptable and popular, so it is more digestible to the masses." Over half of 13-33-year-olds tell us there is less stigma towards tattoos than there used to be.

Young consumers’ embrace of tattoos has inspired some daring brands to integrate them into marketing efforts…and we’re not just talking about some cute branded faux-ink. In 2014, Reebok set up a tattoo tent at the Tough Viking competition in Stolkholm and offered a one-year sponsorship to the individual who got the biggest tattoo of their…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “Time I could be sleeping is time I spend on social media. It's now part of my waking up and going to sleep routine and, for those reasons, I'm feeling done with social media."—Male, 24, CA

MasterCard created an audio-only logo for Generation Voice Activated. The finance brand has debuted a sound they’ll play when people check out using their MasterCard. YPulse data shows that 29% of 18-36-year-olds own a smart speaker device, and that number is only expected to grow along with the use of other audio-activated devices. MasterCard wants to make their brand memorable without visual cues to tap into the $40 billion in revenue voice shopping is expected to generate by 2022. (Fast Company)

Brands are acting uncannily human on Twitter—is it working? Many brands (mainly the food and beverage kind) are “behav[ing] like real people with idiosyncratic personalities” on social media to connect with young consumers. This allows them to “stand out it in a crowded marketplace," explains one marketing professor. And Twitter users are engaging: from Sunny D to Steak-umm, brands are going viral for nihilist, and even depressing, first-person posts. (Vice)

Millennials are buying more greeting cards this Valentine’s Day. The National Retail Federation estimates the industry made as much as $933 million yesterday, compared to $894 million last year. Experts say that Millennials are behind the boost as they buy more expensive, albeit fewer, cards that often have personalized flourishes and functions (like audio). They’re also opting for IRL cards over e-cards because, as one enthusiast explains, "I like giving cards because you can hold it, unlike a text or email.” (NPR)

Brands went beyond romantic messaging for Valentine’s Day this year. Some catered to Millennials’ Treat Yo’Self mentality with collaborations like Tinder and Homesick’s “Single, Not Sorry” candle, while others celebrated Galentine’s Day. Target stocked themed decorations for those hosting girls-only get-togethers and Kay Jewelers set aside a site category for Galentine’s Day gifts. Finally, the NRF estimates that pet owners spent $886 million on their furry friends on Valentine’s Day, and retailers like PetSmart advertised accordingly. (ContentStandard)

More college grads are taking on retail jobs as stores up the ante for new hires. Yes, the trend is fueled by student debt and other financial factors, but also because stores that focus on experience expect more than ever from their customer service reps. Workers at Sweaty Betty, Everlane, and Warby Parker are reportedly trained with workshops, tests, and homework. But while, as one expert explains, “Customers are also coming in with much higher expectations of what level of service they’re going to receive,” retail wages aren’t keeping pace. (Refinery29)

Quote of the Day: “The best thing about social media is to connect with people across geographical boundaries and cultures. I love interacting with people that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”—Female, 22, PA

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