Think “Millennial” and you’ll often envisage the single twenty-something travelling the world snapping selfies and eating ‘smashed avo’. It’s difficult to picture them as parents. But with the oldest millennials now approaching 40, it’s no surprise that almost half of them are already parents.
Australian Millennials offer companies a huge potential growth opportunity. In 2016 they were worth 7% of the Australian food and grocery retail market, with this figure forecast to grow to 17% by 2021. Currently, 40% of Australian millennials are dealing with parenthood. Highly educated and tech savvy they are tackling parenthood very differently than previous generations.
So how are Millennials doing as parents and what are the key consumer insights to help brands engage with this new generation of mums and dads?
1) It’s essential to be visible across a variety of platforms
The Millennials are the first generation to have grown up with the Internet, laptops and mobile phones. They are always busy and always connected via their smartphones and social media. Smart phones are key – over 90% own one – providing constant access to information.
Hyper adept at multi-tasking, the Millennials have on average up to 11 connected devices. Social media is part of who they are and they frequently express and share their views on social media.
2) Be gender neutral – they’re both parents – no more assuming you’re talking to mums
The Millennials have broken down stereotypical gender roles and Millennial dads take a far more active role in parenting than any previous generation. The number of dads using flexible working arrangements to care for their children has doubled since the mid 90s.
Lisa Conolly, Director of Family and Community Statistics at the ABS says, “Nowadays around 30 per cent of dads took advantage of flexible work hours to look after young children (under 12), compared with 16 per cent of dads two decades ago. The number of dads working from home to care for their children doubled from 7 per cent to 14 per cent, while dads who worked part-time to care for their children rose from 1 per cent to 5 per cent.”
They are turning to the web and mobile devices for advice with Dads watching more parenting related content than mums. They are more likely than mums to look for parenting advice on YouTube with 86% of millennial dads turning to YouTube for parenting topics like preparing meals, using a product or assembling gear.
As the roles of dads grow, so too do the expectations and the gap between what they actually know and what they think they’re supposed to know. This is leading to a lot of anxiety for new dads and provides an opportunity for brands to.
3) Be there in their hour of need with plenty of helpful information
Millennials are seeking out information constantly – finding it in stolen moments during the day, and night, and using whatever device is at hand. Google data shows that searches for baby-related terms on mobile platforms have grown 52% year over year. This gives brands the perfect opportunity to influence purchasing behaviour. But the information needs to be useful.
They will welcome branded content especially if it answers questions they may have. 3 out of 4 millennial parents are open to videos by brands on YouTube when seeking guidance on parenting topics. Brands who can be there in their hour of need will succeed.
4) Demonstrate acts of kindness and compassion
They’re actually quite a caring bunch with nearly half of Millennials surveyed saying that family is their first priority in life and 71% say they put family before their career, challenging the popular assumption that they are selfish.
One in three support charitable causes with regular payments. If they don’t feel they can give money, they donate their time with 40% saying they have done volunteer work during the past year.
Support their causes. They are highly receptive to cause marketing. If a cause gives back to the community, and being involved is simple, they’ll happily participate and communicate about it through social media.
5) Keep it Real
They look for organic, sustainably sourced and environmentally friendly products when grocery shopping with 62% and 60% looking for organic cues and sustainably sourced items, respectively.
They are ‘getting real’ with their kids. They are being more open and honest and taking on a more familiar, less hierarchical role with their kids than earlier generations. 74% will involve their children in household decisions and 82% of millennial dads who watch videos on YouTube related to general or pop culture news do so to connect with their children.
6) Offer quality and value
Millennials have often been considered financially irresponsible and wanting to enjoy the finer things in life. Although they’re not poor, they are cash strapped and have grown up in a difficult economic climate. This has made them thrifty and they’re always shopping for value and a good deal.
They continue to want quality products and 60% are happy to pay extra for them but they prefer to get a great deal and will happily shop around or hold out until the items are on sale.
7) See them as individuals rather than parents
They are not just parents and the “self-obsessed” generation maintains a sense of self when they become parents. They hold on to their personal interests and passions far more than previous generations with 75% saying they have continued to pursue their personal passions since having children.
They make time for themselves and will often involve their children in their interests and hobbies. Be mindful that being a parent is only one part of a Millennial’s identity.
Millennial parents are breaking the gender stereotypes of previous generations and are making parenting their own. They’re keeping it real with their kids and approach parenting with an honest and open style. They share responsibilities and are keeping their own passions a priority. This generation has also been impacted far more by media fragmentation and technology than any other.
Why Consumer Research Is Important
Brands who understand how to engage with this vast consumer group are best placed to take advantage of the immense opportunities that the Millennials can provide. Developing the right products and the right messages are key. Being a brand accepted by the millennial segment requires tapping into their mindset and gaining their feedback at concept stage. This is why researching your market is so important.
For more information about how we help our clients use consumer research to understand their markets, please give us a call at Truth-Serum.
Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016
Australian Millennial Report 2017, Nielsen Media Research, Australia
Marketing to Millennial Parents by Netta Gross & Celia O’Neil-Hart, Google Ipsos Connect, Ipsos Research, USA