Three Millennial Spending Secrets You Never Knew

BY Lucy Fang
May 10, 2016

10,000 Millennials turn 21 every day in America (Time). Millennials are the largest generation on our planet and, therefore, have the highest influence over norms, expectations, and behaviors. By 2018, Millennials will have the most spending power of any generation. As marketers are chasing the attention of this influential group, money and time are wasted in the old ways of advertising. The millennials have a new and unique way of communicating, building relationships, and interacting inside the business world.

Millennials & Loyalty

Millennials are unique in their choice of products, brands, and channels of interacting with their favorite companies. Mobile websites, social connectors, and video marketing are booming, keeping their Millennial base intrigued. According to IRI, 44% of millennials say they are loyal to brands they buy, and 52% will choose quality over price. It’s not the lowest price wins anymore. Bring Millennials into your company story, give them a reason to care, and no matter the cost, they will buy.


Mobile marketing, as predicted, has been taking over the world. 85% of millennials in the U.S. own smartphones. Ads are now on Facebook, Apps and littered over websites and blogs. Why? Because this is where Millennials are looking. Millennials spend roughly 15+ hours a day on their mobile device. Mobile is the obvious choice for marketing to this new generation, but the internet is so vast and broad, where to market on this network? This is where research comes in handy. Look into your target demographic and see what online platforms they are engaging in. Are your demographics using Facebook or Reddit? Are they more interested in reading blogs or connecting with friends? These are the questions you must ask yourself when developing your millennial marketing strategy.


Millennials strive to gain experience from their endeavors, whether skydiving, eating at an up-and-coming restaurant, or traveling to new places. This unique generation is looking for more than just a perfect product. They want to be a part of the brand. Millennials identify themselves with their favorite companies and develop their identities based on what experience they gain from that company. For example, Starbucks is a down-to-earth company that seems to give back and care for its customers with its loyalty cards. Starbucks gives the proper experience from start to finish. As soon as a customer enters, the baristas say, “Good Morning” or “Welcome to Starbucks.” Their millennial customer base identifies with giving back and provides Starbucks with some of their promotional material through user-generated photos and videos. Although Starbucks is a bit expensive for coffee, millennials spend their money there because it is the experience, and they feel involved in the bigger brand or goal.


Let’s focus on the top three things Millennials are interested in (at the moment). Entertainment, dining, and electronics. All three of these millennial interests drive a unique experience, giving customers something to engage in. It is all about the perceived value that drives engagement. Every millennial wants to believe that they are special and that their journey is different than other people on this earth. If your business is not in the entertainment, dining, or electronic industry, then think of new ways to involve those sorts of rewards for participating in your business.

How do we reach millennials?

Ultimately, millennial loyalty is long-lasting, if inspired correctly. Therefore, your messages as a business need to be spun correctly. Millennials are on hundreds of communication networks, analyze your target audience and follow their patterns of websites and blogs. Millennials are searching for a new experience. If your product is not experience-based, then spin the content so they perceive a higher value versus a reward.

Millennials are no longer using the traditional legacy POS system. They store their data on websites, social networking sites, and on their personal devices. Capturing information seems harder than it looks. Or is it?

With millennials, the ultimate goal is the perceived value rather than the reward itself. For example, the brand Tom’s sold their shoes like wildfire in the early 2010s because of the image that came with the product. The company would donate a pair to a child in need for every pair of Tom’s bought. Therefore, customers not only buy shoes for themselves but also for charity.

Millennial spending is based on experience with entertainment, dining, and electronics. With a new market comes new and unique ways to drive millennial spending. The takeaway: Don’t believe all the rumors you hear about millennial consumers, especially the ones that say they don’t buy stuff.