The Impact of Millennials: 10 Ways They Will Change The World Forever
The word ‘millennials’ seems to be on the tips of every marketer’s tongue.
There’s a lot of buzz, but frankly it’s with good reason.
The next few decades are going to see incredible change not seen before, with millennials being the key drivers of this alongside technological advances.
In short, expect change.
At the ADMA summit in 2017, Matt Britton unravelled the hysteria that on ‘millennials’, and outlined how they will impact our world unlike any generation has ever before.
It is well worth the 30 minute watch for anyone in business. You can catch it here.
If you don’t have 30 minutes on your hands, we’ve summarised the 10 points he made:
To Start Off…
Millennials are destined to be a force of change because they have been ‘hard-wired’ to be intuitive with technology.
They’re the first generation to grow up entirely with tech at their fingertips.
They weren’t around in the days where global connectivity wasn’t available to the masses. They have been raised in an environment where anything is possible, and technology is not just a tool, but an essential aspect of life.
This means millennials will be leading the way when the fourth industrial revolution kicks into overdrive.
Below are 10 big things that will occur in the next 5–10 years, thanks to the new way of life pushed by Millennials:
1. The New Status Symbol is the Status Update
Traditionally, buying ‘things’ was a way for people to broadcast themselves to the world. Material items, especially clothing, greatly defined ‘identity’.
People would buy these ‘things’ to signify who they were (or what experiences they’ve had), because back then you couldn’t share experiences.
Your concert tee or souvenir from another country was a marker of your experience.
That’s changed thanks to social media.
The new social currency is experience.
Consumers are so obsessed with experiences, that they ‘do things’ simply to show other people, and paint an image of their identity.
A strong motivator for travel, activities and the like for this gen is to ‘show other people what they’re doing’.
Take Instagram — a profile is like one big personal brand.
This means that this generation will care less about branding, and more about experiences. But more on that later.
2. The Inner City Will Be Dominated by the ‘Creative Class’
In the old days, wealthy people chose to live in the suburbs. Living in the city was considered ‘grungy’.
Now, urbanisation has taken over and young people are electing to live in the city.
There are less expectations on pursuing a ‘career’ from families and society as a whole, so Millennials are choosing to ‘stay young’ for longer.
In the 50s, if you didn’t have a serious job at 25, it was frowned upon.
Nowadays, not so much. It’s because of this and the thirst for experience-seeking, that there is less of a need to move to the suburbs. The city is fun, so that’s where people go.
An interesting direct consequence of this, is that anything other than a restaurant, bank, or pharmacy will start to be phased out of cities. Basically anything that’s not needed immediately — groceries, medicine, food (experiences) will be more often purchased online.
Things needed today will be bought at one of the three shops above. Thanks to online shopping and the emergence of behemoths like Amazon, other shops will begin to be phased out of the inner city.
3. Services Are Making Us Buy Less Stuff
Since material objects aren’t as big a marker of identity as in the past, people are opting less for ownership and more for access.
If it doesn’t add to someone’s personal brand, the need for ownership is drastically lowered.
Thanks to the sharing economy, you don’t need to buy a lot of ‘things’ anymore. You can simply access it for when you need it.
Uber and Airbnb are prime examples of this.
Most, if not all services, will being to align this model. Hairdressers and clothing rental services are just one example — they’re available to come to you, on-demand.
All this means Millennials will be able to save money (which they can spend on experiences).
4. A Barbell Economy Is Emerging
As a further result of the lowering value of ‘brands’ to this new generation, we’re starting to see a ‘barbell economy’ emerge.
This basically means that companies will need to be luxurious, or super cheap. If you’re stuck in the middle of those two, then survival won’t be easy.
5. Data-Driven Direct Business Will Disrupt Retail
Brands used to be able to get into a ‘supermarket’ and then survive based on simply ‘being there’. However, in future that won’t be the case. Why?
Personalisation at scale is the business model of the future.
Since experience will be at the core of all consumer behaviour, a brand that becomes experience-focused will win over traditional models.
Direct relationships will be pivotal in almost every business, and can be achieved at scale thanks to data collection.
Retail is struggling to keep up because the business model allows for data to ‘slip through the cracks’.
Traditional retail fails to capture data to inform decisions. E-Commerce however can record customer data to incredible detail.
Thus, personalisation at scale is achievable online — which allows personalisation. This is highly valued by a millennial audience.
6. The Gig Economy Is Disrupting Traditional Education
Thanks to automation there will only be two streams for students to study: SCIENCE or ART.
This is because part-time and casual jobs will become more prevalent as businesses become more automated.
The reason only these two streams will be necessary is as follows:
- Science = Create, program and maintain technology.
- Art = Ideation and creativity (which is then given to a machine to execute).
Specialists will flourish in the gig economy, a jack-of-all-trades won’t. This is simply because a specialist will be able to satisfy multiple casual and part-time gigs effectively with expertise.
If you’re looking to upskill or learn, you should go deep into one stream.
7. Typing will go the way of hieroglyphics
Typing will be phased out, and voice will talk it’s place.
Simply put, any innovation that saves consumers time will win. Since voice is the easiest communication avenue of all, this will be revolutionary.
This means that any brand that can’t be remembered and spoken on the spot will fall. The bigger brands which are easy to remember will flourish.
This means that if your brand can’t be recalled to a home assistant (who will order it online for you), then you’ll be in big trouble.
8. Fame is now completely democratised
Traditional TV networks will start to be replaced with ‘individuals’.
The rise of influencers has been the first step of this entertainment-shift. Influencers who star on YouTube or Instagram — like Casey Neistat or Kayla Itsines, will continue to be preferred to TV channels with assorted programming.
9. The TV Will Become A Giant iPad
TV’s will become interactive and ‘smart’.
An interesting ramification of this is ‘targeted TV advertising’, which would resurrect TV advertising and will be a powerful tool for marketers — just like Facebook advertising.
10. Four Companies Will Run The World
Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are (and will continue to) take over almost every aspect of daily life.
From communication to shopping, these 4 will be the gateways of most behaviour.
They’re so big that they’re practically unstoppable now. If anyone tries to challenge them, they either buy them or crush them.
Just like Instagram (Facebook) did to Snapchat.
So What’s Next?
This is both incredibly interesting and scary at the same time.
However, these changes will slowly occur over the next decade, as the famous quote goes:
As Bill Gates elegantly put it,
“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”