How to Identify New Growth Potential with the Millennial Mindset®

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

We have exciting new research to share from our team at FutureCast!

The rise of millennials has changed what it means to be a consumer—but brands aren’t sure exactly how it’s changed. New research from our team at FutureCast and Barkley set out to quantify the millennial influence and prove that the Millennial Mindset affects consumer purchase behavior.

The Millennial Mindset study, co-authored with The Cambridge Group, a growth strategy consulting firm and part of Nielsen, interviewed more than 2,500 millennials and non-millennials. It identified six mindsets that define millennial consumer behavior. They are:

  • Social circle: Do my friends and acquaintances advocate for a brand?
  • Self: Does a brand’s purpose align with my personal beliefs and my sense of self?
  • Innovation: Does a brand constantly improve and reinvent?
  • Trusted: Do I rely on a brand to put consumers first?
  • Purposeful: Does the brand add good to self, society or the planet?
  • Accessible: Is a brand useful and convenient?

Millennials, raised in a digital age, sparked these shifts in consumer mindsets. But the mindsets aren’t limited to just the millennial generation, or to 18-to-34-year-olds. In fact, Generation X puts almost equal value on the millennial mindsets. The Millennials are the first generation to influence up.

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What mindsets matter most?

Which Millennial Mindsets matter most? It depends: what respondents said was important was quite different than what was actually important. Respondents said that “Accessible” and “Trusted” were the mindsets that mattered to them when making a purchase decision.

However when we mapped the mindsets against actual spending data, however, they found a different story. “Social Circle,” the lowest-rated attribute in stated importance, was the factor that most drove spending behavior when looking at derived importance. “Self” and “Innovative,” were both ranked relatively low in stated importance but were the next most important factors in spending behaviors considering actual consumer spend.

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Do the Millennial Mindsets matter?

For brands that have been trying to understand where to focus their efforts in the millennial landscape, our study shows that focusing on the millennial mindsets can make a big difference. The millennial mindsets account for up to 50 percent of a brand’s performance.

The study assigns a Mindset score to top brands measured in the study. Forty two percent of respondents said that Amazon matched millennial mindsets closely, followed by 37 percent for Apple and 31 percent for Netflix. Amazon and Apple were the only brands who scored equally well across millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. Brands considered favorites among the millennial generation, including Uber, didn’t fare as well, especially with Baby Boomers, at just 21 percent.

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To our knowledge, this is the first time anyone has been able to quantify the absolute value of the Millennial Mindset on a brand’s performance. Our data shows just how critical the Millennial Mindset is to driving spend, share and preference. Understanding which millennial mindsets are most important to your brand will not only allow you to build a road map towards greater engagement among a broad audience, but it will also help you identify areas of sales growth potential.

Remember, we are living in a new consumer market where a target audience does not exist. Rather, a group of like- minded consumers who may range in demographics and backgrounds but are within the same mindset will be what drives brand performance across industry verticals.


About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.