Millennials Think the Biggest Problem Their Generation Faces Is a Person

What’s the biggest problem Millennials face as a generation? We asked them to tell us, and uncovered their 15 greatest concerns about the country, and their future, right now…

Student debt, delayed adulthood, lack of savings, unwillingness to invest—it’s not hard to find headlines declaring these some of Millennials’ biggest problems. Never mind the stereotypes about their shortcomings as a generation (entitled, lazy, and narcissistic are just a few in case you’ve forgotten). Older generations have clear opinions on Millennials’ issues, but what do Millennials themselves see as the biggest problems they face today? We asked them to tell us, and uncovered their 15 greatest concerns about the U.S., and their future, right now.

In our recent monthly survey of young consumers, part of our ongoing Millennial and Gen Z research, we dug into how these generations feel about their country, from how patriotic they are, to whether they think America is changing for the better or for worse. (Reminder: Only 32% agreed with the statement, “I think America is changing for the better,” while a full 75% agreed with the statement, “I think America is changing for the worse.”) Last week, we explored the issues and causes they are passionate about, a list that has shifted in the last few months of political turmoil. But in that same survey, we also asked almost 800 18-34-year-olds, “What do you think is the biggest problem your generation faces right now?”* Here are their top responses:

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of issues that Millennials think are impacting them—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are the biggest concerns. The list…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I honestly wouldn't like to communicate with brands, unless it is to solve problems their brand is causing.”—Female, 27, MI

Why don’t people seem to care as much about fake followers on Instagram as on other platforms? Because while Facebook and Twitter are bashed for feeds full of fake news, no one holds Instagram to the same standard. The image-centric platform is inherently “a hyperreality,” where no one’s candid shot is truly spontaneous, and photo-shop freely fills feeds. Where does it get tricky? With Influencers, who are expected to garner true engagements for brands. (Real Life)

Influencer marketing faced another tricky situation this week when PopSugar replaced influencers’ affiliate links with their own. RewardStyle and its Instagram product LikeToKnow.it’s network of content creators’ photos and sometimes entire feeds “were copied to the site via “thousands of ‘falsified vanity pages’ containing millions of images belonging to the network’s content creators.” The group is planning on seeking a class-action lawsuit on their intellectual property and for the lost revenue that PopSugar made each time a customer clicked to purchase. (Racked)

Colleges are giving out more merit-based aid to win over top students. Tuition discount rates have risen to a record 49.1% for first-time, full-time freshman attending private universities, up over 10% from ten years prior—according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. By using data-driven analysis to calculate just how much aid is likely to lure a top student in, colleges are seeing success upping their prestige. However, the practice has also “created a closing of the doors for low-income students,” according to one policy analyst. (WSJ)

Apple is betting that young consumers could bring back magazines via a magazine subscription service. The tech company took a gamble by buying Texture, a subscription service for over 200 titles that’s been dubbed the “Netflix of Magazine Publishing.” The app aggregates articles into a single browsing experience, rather than being separated by title, and pays the included publications. Apple has announced plans to integrate the service into their Apple News app, the latest incarnation of their less-than-successful Newsstand app. (Bloomberg)

Function of Beauty is customizing hair care, blending up shampoo and conditioner for each customer based off a five-question quiz. Beauty companies big and small have hopped on the Customization Nation trend, and Function of Beauty takes that to the next level with their hyper-personalized hair care set. They're customizing everything from the fragrance to the chemical components, and even going so far as to print the purchaser’s name on each product. The founder explains, "Every single person is unique and different...why negate that instead of catering to it?" (Paper)

“[Allison Raskin] is open about her struggles with mental health, and she is also funny.”—Female, 19, CA

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