Why research about Millennials is important

By: Melissa Reeves

A lot of research has been coming out recently about Millennials. Pew Research Center released a study about Millennials (18-33 year olds) that was packed with a lot of information about this demographic. The most notable results include:

Marriage

Only 26% of Millennials are married. This is surprising considering when previous generations were in the same age range a much higher percentage of them were married. Marriage totals for the past three generations when they were 18-33:

  • 36% of Generation X
  • 48% of Baby Boomers
  • 65% of the members of the Silent Generation

This is not from a lack of desire, either. Only about 5% of unmarried respondents said they didn’t plan to marry eventually. It seems the biggest factor in holding off on marriage is money. The median cost of a wedding in America in 2012 was more than $18,000. With a number like that, it’s no wonder cohabitation is on the rise. Just because they aren’t getting married, doesn’t mean Millennials aren’t settling down.

Politics and Religion

One of the most interesting findings is that 50% of Millennials consider themselves politically independent and 29% are not affiliated with a religion. This makes the “young vote” that much more important. Though Millennials tend to vote largely democratic, feeling less tied to a political party can work in favor of either party in the US. Getting young people to vote can make all the difference in an election. This is why is it more important than ever that political candidates have a digital presence. Young people spend a reported 18 hours a day consuming media. Getting the message out to where they are is crucial.

Trust

Millennials are significantly less trusting than generations past. Only 19% say most people can be trusted, compared to a high of 40% of Baby Boomers who agreed with that statement. But there is one group who Millennials trust: their friends. In fact, theytrust their friends more than they trust even reliable news sources. This is one reason why marketers are moving toward brand advocates and gearing their campaigns to promote the sharing of messages across social media platforms, so instead of the message coming from the marketer, it comes from the consumer.

It can be easy to ignore all the analysis coming out about the young generation. These same polls and cover stories came out in the mainstream media about Generation X and Baby Boomers. But this data is significant because young people have voting power, buying power and now with the prevalence of social media they have heavy influence over their peers. Companies and politicians should take note of studies such as these and adjust their outreach efforts accordingly.