Millennials are here, and they are the future of your business as they are on the cusp of heading into consumer prime-time. You may be one, or be related to one. Regardless, it’s good to paint a picture on who they are and what motivates them as a whole. They may be the youth of today but they are your customer of tomorrow. So, what do you need to know about this generation of Australians to ensure you’re maximising business opportunities in this space?
Keeping up with the kids – Australia has just hit the 24 million mark in terms of its population. By far the largest subset of this population is the Millennial – those born between 1980 and 2000, aged between 16 and 36. Millennials make up a whopping 30% of the Australian population.
Their size is impressive, as is the business opportunity they present as they enter the home buying zone for the first time. They are entering their consumer ‘prime time’ and it’s critical you’re there alongside them as their first port of call when it comes to their finance needs.
They don’t come without their challenges though by way of how best to engage and attract; their behaviours and expectations are markedly different. Businesses that aren’t reshaping, repackaging and repositioning to meet these needs are simply being left behind.
Who are they again? – Those defined by their birthdate: born between 1980 and 2000. They (generalising here we know but work with us!) are street-smart, mature, resilient, highly tech-savvy and fully informed. They are by nature of their technological abilities and appetites, traditionally over-stimulated and can be impatient; wanting solutions to their problems and answers to their questions here and now. They hanker after simplicity.
They are relaxed in their communications but blunt; speed is everything for these ‘digital natives’ who’ve not had to adapt to new technologies – born with them as the norm.
Their numbers – There are a lot of them. In terms of Australia, the ABS tells us there are around 7 million Millennials, just nudging 30% of our country’s population, the largest generational subset by a long shot. The size alone of this generation clearly making them the biggest opportunity to be seized on in terms of the Australian economy as they enter consumer ‘prime time’.
And, they are also the largest generation in terms of employment with Millennials making up 34% of the Australian workforce compared to Gen X who make up 31%.
US reports suggest that Millennials are predicted to surpass the spending power of baby boomers by 2018.
Their smarts – Millennials are a pretty well-educated lot; by far the most educated generation. The ABS tells us that in 2011 over half of young adults (52%) had a non-school qualification, and around a quarter (26%) had a bachelor’s degree or higher qualification. This is compared to 1976 when less than a third of young adults in Australia had a non-school qualification and only 5% had a bachelor degree or higher qualification. So, they know what they are talking about, can be sceptical when it comes to marketing tactics, thus the need for transparency at every step.
Their connectivity – These kids are wired for sound. They move fast, consume a great deal of information on the go, and they consume in bite sized pieces – commonly known as ‘digital snacking’. As a result, they process quickly, and they expect businesses to do the same; such an important message particularly for those of us in the finance game with such traditionally lengthy mortgage transactions. They are far more likely to take advantage of non-traditional payment companies, mobile wallet concepts and peer to peer funding models and see huge value in convenience, mobility and ease of use.
Millennials and their day jobs – By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce,10 and they are an entrepreneurial lot with 70 percent of the Millennial generation already having or planning to have their own business. They don’t hang around long either. On average, Millennials will have 17 jobs in their lifetimes, moving on from each job after an average of 3.3 years.
Their incomes – They are big earners for their years. The median income, for Australians aged 18-35, bearing in mind some are yet to even join the workforce, is currently between $40,000 and $50,000 per year. Of those, roughly 9% of Australians aged 18-35 are in a much higher bracket, currently earning between $90,000 and $100,000 per year. A great deal of them also have, or plan to have, multiple income streams to supplement their ‘day jobs’ such as monetizing their social media activity, income generating asset sharing and consulting.
When you look at other generations, between 2011 and 2012 the average annual household income was approx $116,000 for Gen X, $93,000 for Baby Boomers, and $44,000 for those over the age of 70.
When you marry up their high levels of education and their income levels which are rising fast, it’s not hard to see why Millennials are such a golden opportunity in terms of our brokers’ pipelines.
Millennials and sensible things like home ownership – So, like we said, with 7 million Millennialsii in the country, just nudging 30% of Australia’s population, their size alone makes them a hot prospect to attract as they enter consumer ‘prime time’.
Recent research reveals that around 63% of Australian Millennials do not currently have a home loan17 and that 41% of Millennials live with their parents to save on rent.
In a survey done by REST on the saving goals of Millennials, over 85% said they were saving for travel or a holiday and roughly 64% stated they were saving for a property deposit.
They are saving and waiting longer to step into the property market for the first time, with the average age of a first home buyer in Australia increasing from 27 in 1982 to early 30s today.
Having also been very quick to embrace ‘the sharing economy’, with fast adoption concepts such as car sharing companies, crowd-funding, Uber and Airbnb, it follows suit that Millennials are more comfortable either staying at home or renting for longer than previous generations who had greater ‘ownership’ aspirations.
After watching their parents suffer on the back of the 2008 GFC, how they plan to spend is also markedly different from their older counterparts; recent US research suggesting that concepts such as mortgage-free ‘tiny houses’ appeal to around 57%.
 Ipsos Mori – Global Trends 2014 : Navigating the New