The Millennial Mindset (It Has Nothing To Do With Age)

2016 is the year of the modern consumer. We are transitioning into a period where smart, forward thinking brands are not just targeting Millennial consumers based on their age but are focusing more on all consumers that have adopted a “Millennial Mindset”.

As Millennial marketing firm, Future Cast explains, Young adults born between 1977 and 2000 account for 25 percent of the population and wield trillions of dollars in direct and indirect spending influence.  The sheer size and spending power of this generation makes it impossible to ignore. However, it goes a bit deeper than that. Millennials are not just influencing the way our own generation is connecting with brands but are also impacting the way our entire consumer market functions. 

Digital Natives

The Millennial Mindset® has expanded beyond just the generation born between 1977 and 2000 and has now been adopted by consumers of all ages. Millennial behaviors such as hyper connectivity, content creation, curation and consumption are impacting the way not just millennials, but also consumers who may not be a millennial as defined by their age, interact with the world and with the brands that engage them most. 

As we see our digital culture expanding at a rapid rate, combined with the consistent growth of our consumer culture, a new breed of consumer is evolving.  Millennial Mindset® consumers are not millennials by definition but they are thinking and behaving based on millennial inspired consumer trends.  

Imagine the 50-year-old woman in line at Starbucks pulling out her iPhone to pay for her drink with the Starbucks app. Millennials are redefining the participation economy and are forcing brands to reimagine what they thought they knew about marketing to Millennials.

Post Demographic Era

The truth is, that people of all ages and in all markets, are constructing their own identities more freely than ever. As a result, consumption patterns are no longer defined by ‘traditional’ demographic segments such as age, gender, location, income, family status and more. 

As we enter into a post-demographic era, we are defining a ‘new normal’, embracing and celebrating new racial, social, cultural, sexual and generational norms. This is mostly due to the rapid development of new technologies, rampant global urbanization and the expectation that everyone should be empowered to live the way they want.

Millennials tend to believe in inclusivity and fairness. They have a thirst for (affordable) adventures and put a premium on authenticity. Modern consumers crave individuality and custom designed experiences. They want brands to speak to and serve them on a personal level. 

Taste Led Targeting

Taste Led Targeting uses technology to tailor marketing, products and services so that no consumer experiences them the same way. These are rich, contextual, dynamic experiences that are unique to the individual.

A great example of this is Spotify, which offers personal playlists delivered weekly to users. In August 2015, the company introduced Discover Weekly, a custom-made mixtape that is unique to each user and delivered each week. That same month, Axe, a popular male grooming brand, debuted a short film called Romeo Reboot which adapts to each online viewer’s interests (factoring in music taste, previous purchases and more). 

The best brands will make great strides in regard to customization and personalization. Early leaders are moving all the way to individualization and predicting what we will want based on the situation and our prior behavior. 


Cities are one of the central drivers of post-demographic consumerism. In large and rapidly growing cities, consumers can pursue the lifestyles they desire. Cities provide access to a diverse range of products, services and experiences. Urban-dwellers share passions, pain points, high expectations and a hunger for new offerings. 

Launched in May 2015, Factory Fresh is a Beijing-based food delivery service that brings set menus to customers’ doorsteps every morning. Another great example of this is Uber. In April 2015, the South African branch of the company partnered with Massage on the Move to bring massages directly to customers homes in Johannesburg and Pretoria.


As Trend Watching reports, we are still far from a world where every consumer can freely pursue their own identities. People with a Millennial Mindset will celebrate brands that empower them to realize their aspirations. In some cases it’s as simple as your business paying attention to a section of society that is overlooked (by you and your competitors). These brands give freedom to those who lack it.

A cool example of this is a competition hosted by Alibaba and Chinese LGBT dating app Blued. In June 2015, seven Chinese same-sex couples won a prize of a wedding and vacation in Los Angeles courtesy of the two companies. The winning couples were chosen by an online voting process on Alibaba’s shopping site. China does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions. 

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