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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“I eat [Pizza Hut] least two times per month; it's one of my favorite places to go to eat pizza.”—Male, 35, VA

More Millennials are asking for cash wedding registries, and it’s bad news for stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams Sonoma. Increasingly, young couples are asking guests to contribute towards their nest egg, travel, or anything they feel like buying themselves. Companies like Zola and Honeypot have boomed in popularity, offering a personalized platform for their cash registries. However, their success with wedding registries is taking “a key customer acquisition tool” away from home décor stores. (Insider)

The beauty industry is catering to Customization Nation, as more companies crop up to blend unique beauty products for each customer. But can the trend scale? Truly personalized products, like the ones offered by hair care start-up Function of Beauty and makeup company Bite Beauty, take time and resources. But companies that offer base products with just a personalized element or two could be the future of the industry. And big-name brands are getting their feet wet too: Lancôme and CoverGirl have both offered custom-made foundations. (Glossy)

Nordstrom is taking risks to survive retail’s big shifts. Instead of shuttering stores, they’re opening experimental retail locations, revamping their department stores, and making their mark in Manhattan with their first store openings. The long-standing brand also bought ecommerce site HauteLook and the subscription service Trunk Club. So far, their risk-taking hasn’t proved to be a boon to their bottom line—but only time will tell. (WSJ)

Hollister is teaming up with AwesomenessTV to reach Gen Z with a YouTube series. “The Carpe Life” will be a part of a broader campaign, which includes influencer marketingand appeals to young consumers’ love for active, adventurous lifestyles. "The Carpe Life" follows Hollister's first YouTube series, “This is Summer” which “boosted key brand metrics by double digits,” adding on to their overall positive impact on Abercrombie & Fitch’s rising bottom line. (Marketing Dive)

Netflix is switching its strategy, putting less money into “prestige films” for the Post-TV Gen. Instead, they’re churning out more direct-to-video releases. Last year, they bought ten titles at Sundance while this year they had none. While they continue to create original content like the recent The Cloverfield Paradox, they’re betting on less-than-award-worthy films to maintain their hold on Millennial viewers. (The Atlantic)

“Basically if I found out any brand was supporting causes I do not support and actively oppose, I will avoid buying their products.”—Female, 27, CA

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