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3 Things Only Savvy Marketers Know About Their Millennial Consumers

Young people are often misunderstood. It’s not uncommon that you’ll read sweeping theories about how they feel, what they like, and which brands are catching their attention.

To demystify current lifestyle, digital, and content trends amongst millennials, Voxburner went directly to the source and surveyed 16-24s. In this blog, we reveal key findings from Voxburner’s 2017 Youth Trends Report, which surveyed over 2,000 16-24s in the UK.

1. Young people are striving to be ‘superhuman’

Self-improvement is on the top of 16-24s’ to-do list. Eighty-four percent of UK-based 16-24s feel that it’s important to continuously improve themselves and learn new skills. From brain-boosting exercise classes and superfood diets, to learning how to code and actively practicing mindfulness, millennials are saying that they’re capable of doing a lot.

“I don’t see the point in doing or immersing myself in anything if it doesn’t better me or make me happier. The only way in which we can prosper is by engaging our minds in new activity, it’s crazy how much you can learn from even the people you surround yourself with.”

— College student, age 20

Moreover, brands should expect priorities to shift from self-improvement to bettering the world.

“Young people have a global awareness of humanitarian, health, morality, current affairs and psychology issues that previous generations could only see an iceberg’s tip of. That awareness and global context makes young people want to do more…but also crucially it makes them want to be seen doing more.”

— Sabrina Faramarzi, Freelance Journalist and Futures Researcher

This year, brands that recognize and respect the millennial journey of self-improvement and offer to aid in that journey will continue apace.

2. Digital language – we’ve reached peak emoji

We’ve officially reached peak emoji. Ninety-two percent of young people use emojis within messaging, while 60 percent use GIFs. Young people crave instant connection to whomever they want, whenever they want. The speed at which visual language is evolving is also frightening. New live hangout apps like Airtime and Houseparty are fueling the power of visual communication. However, brands are only just beginning to fully explore this new digital language movement.

“Visual messaging expresses your words with much more feeling and emphasis. Messages now feel empty without an emoji, meme or GIF. It’s all about ease and speed of communicating and the quickest way you can say something.”

— CEO, age 20

In the next year, there will be a whole new breed of communication that brands can leverage to reach 16-24s. New languages will be seen in the form of visual search functions (like branded Google images), visualizations of information, visual language tribes (new youth slang beyond hashtags), more sophisticated memes, way more video, and a lot more DIY content.

Using creative content beyond emojis and GIFs can minimize generic ads and product information, moving you one step closer to learning about their needs and delivering exactly what young people want.

3. Single-gender content is on the rise

Young content creators are responding to a growing desire to be part of a larger community by delivering female-only and male-only content. Leading feminists pave the way via Broadly, Gurlstalk, and Brujas, whilst male beauty vloggers and Instagram dads showcase the more complex definitions of masculinity.

“Single-gender content echoes a larger youth movement bolstered by inclusivity and a growing need for like-minded individuals to foster communities with one-another. There’s often a ‘safety in numbers’ sentiment that a lot of marginalised youngsters are drawn to – especially in times of socio-political unrest.”

— Shanu Walpita, Freelance Trend Forecaster

Although gender is blurring amongst younger generations, single-gender content that resonates with newer mindsets around masculinity and femininity will continue to flourish. Smart brands that venture into this space understand it’s less about targeting boys or girls, and more about the subjects being discussed; there’s a demand for safe online communities where boys can comfortably talk about makeup and girls can add fuel to the feminist fire.
 
Discover what youth trends 2018 will bring at Voxburner’s Youth Marketing Strategy Festival in Brooklyn on October 3-4. Learn more about the YMS festival.
 

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