The Baby Boomers have been the consumers to care about for a while now, driving high-profit franchise business opportunities like senior home health care and personal spa service boutiques. But the Millennials are nearly as large a generation as the baby Boomers, and they are becoming a purchasing force to be reckoned with.
If you want to serve this population — and to be there when they hit their stride in terms of earning power — you need to get to know them. Here are some facts from the Pew Research Center about Americans in the Millennials generation:
- They’re more ethnically diverse than previous generations, including twice as many Hispanics as the Baby Boomers and more African Americans, more Hispanics, and more individuals who identify themselves as having mixed ethnic heritage than any of the now-living previous generations.
- They’re less affluent than earlier generations as a group, with an extremely high unemployment/ out of the workforce rate — 37%. However, they’re also set to be one of the most educated cadres of Americans, in part because they’re staying in school instead of going to work.
- They care a lot about marriage and family, but they’re in no hurry to take the plunge. Only 21% of Millennials are married, though just about one third are parents. Their parents at the same age were twice as likely to be married, and much less likely to be single parents.
SymphonyIRI and other market research companies, have looked at Millennials just as consumers. They found that Millennials don’t cook. They like fast food and also prepared food from grocery stores. They want less friction — less human interaction during transactions — than older consumers, so kiosks and automatic services appeal to them, especially if it saves them money to go with automatic. They like mobile businesses, too, from food trucks to mobile pet care, and they certainly want everything to be available to them from their mobile devices.
They like to pamper themselves, too, even if they can’t afford the high-end spas and health services their parents choose. Automated spa experiences, DIY spa products, automated anytime gyms, and personalized shopping options are great choices if you want a franchise business that will resonate with Millennials.
Most Millennials don’t own homes, many don’t own cars, most don’t have kids. That means that a lot of franchise offerings, from remodeling services to children’s party venues, are irrelevant to Millennials. But it also means that they may have more discretionary income than earlier generations had at the same age. They’ll spring for craft beer, fancier groceries, and special treats for their pets.
So far, Millennials aren’t investing. They’re frugal, though, and quick to respond to discounts, so they may soon be ready to do some financial planning. They are less involved with politics and religion, less active in their communities, and less likely to give to charity than the Baby Boomers — but more involved in their communities than the typical Generation X consumer.
They’re not as interested in ownership, so franchises that offer things as a service or subscription may have more appeal than those that sell possessions. Think ride services rather than cars, and streaming media services instead of DVDs or CDs.
These trends may change as the Millennials age, but for the moment this gives an outline of the kinds of franchise business options you should choose if you want to reach the 18-29 market.