Pulse Report: Engaging Millennials - Winning Hearts and Minds

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Pulse Report: Engaging Millennials - Winning Hearts and Minds


Despite the economic challenges of 2013, consumer confidence rose dramatically in first quarter 2014, according to IRI's latest MarketPulse survey.

All age groups reported a sunnier outlook, but millennials (aged 18-34) showed the greatest uptick in confidence, even though they've arguably suffered the most as a consumer segment since the recession began in 2008.

This is a huge consumer segment that accounts for more than $72 billion annually in CPG spending. With growing households and increasing buying power, the opportunities within this market will increase rapidly and significantly. IRI has been monitoring this segment closely and took an in-depth look at the sentiment increase in a Point of View report: "Positive Millennial Mindset Points to Future Growth."

John McIndoe,
senior vice president of marketing, IRI

Millennials reported a positive economic outlook at the end of 2014, with 57 percent describing their financial outlook for the coming year as "a little better" or "a lot better." That's compared to the total population, which could only muster 29 percent of votes for a more prosperous 2015.

Millennials began earning at a time when the country was deep in recession, engendering a thrifty mindset among this demographic. That mindset is part of who they are as consumers, and they will carry it well into the future.

Because 26 percent of millennials still report that they are having trouble affording groceries, many of the products they purchase are on sale and/or purchased at whatever retail banner offered the lowest price. Consumers in this demographic tend to be very good at deal seeking, especially using technology to download coupons, research products and visit online deal sites.

As you begin to form a strategy to engage millennial consumers, think about how the economy has affected their daily rituals and outlook, as compared to older generations.

Your brands must speak to this thoughtful shopper group differently than your competitors do, and they must make an emotional connection. To do so, your brands need to engage at a very personal level, a level that demonstrates your understanding of the needs and wants of your core millennial consumers.

Invest to understand what media platforms are most heavily experienced by millennial shoppers and how your core millennial shoppers are engaging each of these platforms. With this knowledge, you can create finely targeted multi-platform engagement strategies that will activate millennials and reinforce their purchase decisions.


Source: IRI MarketPulse Survey

Millennials account for nearly one-quarter of the U.S. population and spend more than $72 billion annually on consumer packaged goods.


Source: IRI MarketPulse Survey

For the first time since IRI's Shopper Sentiment Index was developed in 2011, millennials reported a significant improvement in how they're feeling about the future.

Four in ten millennials indicate that more than half of their last CPG basket was purchased on deal.

TIP: As a demographic that is nearly as large as today's boomer market, millennials will be a key growth market for CPG marketers in the coming decades.

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