Generation Y Consumers | Lydia Mehit


Gen X as a Target Customer was first in a series of articles aimed a helping you identify the habits and proclivities of a generation. This is to allow you gain insights into how to better approach them with your marketing message. This article will discuss Millennials and the unique circumstances of their generation.

Generation Y encompases a broad range of ages from teenagers (age 14) to home-owning adults. The older end of generation is believed to have the potential to attain the greatest spenfing power of any prevous generation. This means advertisers want to understand what drives the Gen Y consumer to purchase.

As children Millennials were rewarded simply for participating and everyone was considered a “winner”. They are in tune with their parents, trust their judgement and often look to them for guidance. (Know that this is a two-way street and Gen Y parents often seek their children’s advice, especially for technology purchases.)

Millennials have been thought of as self-confident and technically savvy with an optimistic outlook and high expectations, but many are also starting their life in debt; as many as two-thirds of young college graduates start out with student loan debt that averages as much as $19,200.


Because of the wide range of ages in this generation, you will find it hard to use a one-size fits all approach. More racially, ethnically and culturally diverse than previous generations, many are children of divorce and are likely to have moved once or more during their youth. They also expect to change jobs several times during their careers. Their lives are structured around expectations of change and they plan accordingly.

Their spending habits include baby food (for young families) at $170 per household annually followed by carbonated beverages and pet food, $116 and $112 respectively. They enjoy shopping, but are not as likely to shop the entire store, so you should look for ways to extent their time in the store aisles.

During these economic times, many consumers rely on shopping lists and consistently compare the unit price for a product. Electronic coupons are more likely to be redeemed by Millennials and they also admitted to making the most unplanned purchases on their shopping trips.

Once you’ve identified the age range you are targeting you must know where to find them. Many are apartment dwellers, so direct mail or flyers may reach them. Many Gen Yers are in college or will enter soon. If this is your target, you might start looking on the college campuses in your area. If your product can be shipped, don’t rule out colleges around the country. Look for small, specialty publications that target student populations.

Certain businesses tend to employ disproportionate numbers of younger people, such as department stores or trendy chain stores in malls. Think of ways you can capture their attention. Local publications can be valuable especially entertainment publications, real estate publications for renters or first time home buyers, sports publications or fashion publications. Above all, to capture this group, you need an internet strategy. At the very least you need a web site with all your pertinent information.

If Generation Y is your target customer, I hope the information we’ve given you will help steer your advertising efforts to greater success.
Good Luck.

Lydia Mehit is President and CEO of Custom Business Planning and Solutions.  Learn more about her here.

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