Home / Blog / Business Enhancement / Understanding Millennials & Their Impact On Your Business

Understanding Millennials & Their Impact On Your Business

Avatar photo by Casey Woods, Executive Director | June 29, 2015

Millennials – They have a different way of life, they value different things, and their priorities are different than those of the previous generations. But why should we care to understand them? And more importantly, why should we structure our community around their desires? Millennials, those born between 1980 & the early 2000s, make up 1/3 of the workforce, meaning that you are probably employing them, working with them, or even working for them. They are the future of our community, so understanding what drives this generation is essential for success in both our economy and workforce.

They reject the suburban lifestyle

  • 62% of Millennials prefer to live in areas where they can be close to restaurants, bars, offices, and retail stores. They want to have it all and they want it in close proximity. They want to live, work, and play in the same area. This increases the need for mixed used developments, residential living on the top floors with commercial spaces on the bottom floor, in non-urban areas in order to attract Millennials.
  • The Millennial generation is less likely to be homeowners. They are spending more time in school, incurring debt from student loans, and marrying later. This means that they would rather rent properties until they have a stable career, begin paying off debt and get married.
  • They don’t like to drive. Millennials today are choosing alternate transportation such as walking, biking, and public transportation more than any generation before. They are less likely to get driver’s licenses or take long car trips. In fact, 65% say that losing their phone or computer would have a greater negative impact on their daily life than losing their car.

They would rather be happy in their careers than make a ton of money

  • Millennials would rather be broke and happy than work at a job they hate. They are less likely to succumb to staying unhappily at a job in order to advance their career.
  • More than half of Millennials say they would like to start their own business, and several Millennials became successful entrepreneurs in their 20s and 35% have started a business on the side to supplement their income.
  • Millennials have reported that they consider creativity to be a very important job feature, but were less likely to report that having a job where they can see results or have advancement opportunities was very important.
  • 71% of Millennials think that meetings to decide on a course of action are inefficient. They would rather take action than have countless meetings.

They are a different type of consumer

  • 63% of Millennials stay up to date with their favorite brands via social media
  • Almost half say that word of mouth influences their purchases more than advertising, while 32% say they don’t like advertising in general. This generation requires you to get creative if you want them to like your brand.
  • 44% are willing to promote products or services through social media in exchange for rewards. (This is a win for businesses. If you put a deal on Facebook stating that everyone who shares it gets 20% off their next purchase, you not only reach your friends list, but you reach every friend of every person that shares that photo).
  •  They love a good deal. Ever hear of ‘Win It Wednesday’? Or social media giveaways in general? This strategy has taken over Instagram & Facebook. Retailers post a picture and ask their friends to like & share the photo for a chance to win the item in it. (Again, tons of exposure for the business). Millennials love to save a buck and 77% of them participate in loyalty programs.So, what does all of this mean? It means that we have to rethink the way we structure our communities. Numbers show that these trends are steadily increasing and to be successful, communities need to be dense, walkable, and have a strong public transportation system. We also need to rethink the way we are marketing to this generation. The Millennial Generation wants the urban feel even if they can’t live in a big city and those three characteristics are vital in recreating that atmosphere.For more information on statistics and facts in this article, see the links below:

    White House Report

    Millennials Flock to Urban Areas

    Washington Post


    74 Interesting Facts About Millennials

For this article and MUCH more, check out this week’s Emporia Main Street E-newsletter!

About the Author

Casey Woods, Executive Director

Before accepting the director position in March of 2009, Casey worked in both retail and agricultural jobs in the family businesses. A lifelong resident of the Emporia Area, Casey was a ten year volunteer for Emporia Main Street prior to his appointment as director. During that time he served as the board president and chair of the Economic Vitality Committee.

Casey also serves as a partner in PlaceMakers, LLC, a consulting firm that routinely works with both large and small communities, and their businesses, to promote sustainable economic growth through community and economic development practices. Casey consults with businesses, organizations and communities to understand their market capacity and fill vacant spaces. He has been involved in two projects that included crowdfunding as a part of their overall business funding strategies, Radius Brewing and Twin Rivers Winery & Gourmet Shoppe.