Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Understanding Millennials by Marcela Miguel Berland and Frank Gómez

Aside from having two of my own, I'm acquiring all kinds of information and respect for millennials that I'm beginning to post to this blog. This just came into my inbox. You're thoughts appreciated, btw.  As with any post, feel free to comment.


Understanding Millennials

By Marcela Miguel Berland and Frank Gómez | Transmitted on 9/7/16

Princeton, NJ [CapitalWirePR] September 7, 2016 – The largest generation, most ethnically and racially diverse, politically and religiously unaffiliated, concerned about their financial future, social media- addicted and high tech savvy.  These are some of the characteristics of millennials.  A generation that has created its own imprint and path.

Millennials are without a doubt the number one target and dream of most CMOs in America.  And if politicians are paying any attention, they should be aiming to gathering their support as well.

Here are a few facts that will help you understand this complex and often misunderstood generation:

Minority Reigns

Millennials represent a quarter of the total U.S. population, over 83.1 million people between the ages of 20 and 35.  They are also the most diverse group, with 43percent being non-white, the highest percentage of any other generation (21percent are Hispanic; 13 percent Black; 6 percent Asian; and 3 percent other).  And – get this – one-fourth of millennials speak a language other than English at home!

True Believers

A recent study conducted by Edelman Intelligence found that the vast majority believes their American dream is possible.  And it is not about money.  Yes, they are dreamers in the real sense of the word.

The Edelman Intelligence study also indicates that many millennials think their children will be better off than them. Six in ten believe their children will be more successful than they are. This sentiment is particularly strong among Latinos (75%) vs. white millennials (58%).

Debt and Uncertainty about Retirement Keep Millennials Up at Night

Millennials worry about retirement;but they are not saving for the long term.  Only 40% report saving actively for the long term and 25% say they over-spend regularly.

At the same time, they feel overwhelmed by things that are “out of their control.”  Debt is a big concern for millennials.  Nearly half (46%) say that debt stands in the way of their investing or saving, and 58% worry about how to manage their money. Their concern about retirement and debt may be a reason why they don’t shy away from help.  Three in four believe that good money management would give their family a better future.

The Ultimate Connectors

Millennials are always connected.  Anyone who is a millennial or has one at home can attest to that. I have two millennial children.  Both are avid consumers of news via social media and both spend a tremendous amount of time glued to their phone and  computer.

A Latina communications major at New York University says that that the adults consume news and watch TV is very obsolete.   “Nobody watches TV anymore,” she  says.  “A tablet, a computer or even a phone is the way to go. So why have cable when you can download all your media content?”

The Death of Traditional Media

Despite the fact that many adults believe that millennials are “light” consumers of news, obsessed with reality TV and the Kardashians, the American Press Institute reports that nearly half say they follow regularly at least five “hard news” topics.   Nearly nine in ten (88%) millennials get news from Facebook regularly, and more than half do so daily. The average millennial reports getting 74% of her news from online sources, and that varies little by age or other demographic factors.

Social Media is King

But social media use is devoted not only to news.  Five inof six millennials connect with companies on social media networks.  Nearly seven out of ten (66%) of millennials follow a company or brand on Twitter; and 64% like a company or brand on Facebook to score a coupon or discount.  Clearly, it is a must for companies to engage with millennials on social media.  Their presence is so strong in fact that  millennials’ consumer behavior can be predicted by monitoring their conversations and sentiment on social media.

The Political Clout of Millennials

Hispanic millennials may be those who will decide the upcoming Presidential race.  Political parties are certainly aware of this fact, to the point that two initiatives (one supported by George Soros and the other by the Koch brothers) are investing heavily in targeting Latino voters, particularly younger ones.

Hispanic millennials will account for nearly half (44%) of the record 27.3 million Hispanic eligible voters projected for 2016—a share greater than any other racial or ethnic group of voters, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.  On the other hand white millennials account for 27% of eligible white voters.


As the foregoing illustrates, millennials are an increasingly powerful force in society in general and in electoral politics in particular.  And among them, the burgeoning number of Hispanic millennials means that this cohort will get increasing attention from political campaigns, marketers, recruiters, advertisers and others.  Anyone who ignores these realities will do so his own peril.

For our part, we will continue to survey our society with a view toward better understanding and – to the extent possible – predicting changing attitudes that affect so much in the United States.  Stay tuned!  We will be back with more!

Marcela Miguel Berland heads Latin American and Multicultural Affairs at EdelmanIntelligence, the Research and Data Analytics arm of Edelman. Frank Gómez is aformer career Foreign Service Officer and corporate executive and a long timeanalyst of current affairs, especially Hispanic affairs.


Frank Gomez

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