For years I’ve been listening to a non-stop list of complaints about Millennials — and by extension myself. Everyone says we’re lazy, entitled and broke.
But it turns out Millennials are actually feminists, more involved with their kids than previous generations, and well, they’re probably also broke.
A new Euromonitor report, “Millennial Parents: Transforming Family Life,” looks at all the ways that Millennials are changing family life, and what that will mean for consumer packaged goods companies.
And while I don’t personally have children (something the report says is completely on-trend as Millennials wait longer and longer to have kids), I can tell you that a lot of the data about how Millennials are running their households rings true. My friends with kids are real-life examples of a lot of the ways Millennials are changing the world — starting at home.
Probably the most exciting news is that more men are finally starting to do their fair share at home. The report says, “Millennial dads are taking over many household chores that were predominantly completed by women in the past, such as grocery shopping, preparing meals, laundry and bathing and dressing children, as well as being more involved in their children’s activities.”
I can tell you that my boyfriend does more housework than I do, and my best friend’s husband is the go-to parent for getting up with the kids in the middle of the night.
So what does that mean for candy makers? Well, stop marketing groceries to just women. Men are in it now, and they’re making purchasing decisions. Heck, it’s because my boyfriend goes grocery shopping with me that I always end up with a bulk bag of sour gummy worms in the cart. (Dear candy companies, please advertise something healthier than gummy worms to my boyfriend. Thanks!).
As Euromonitor says, “Changing family dynamics and households mean that businesses need to ensure that the entire family is being targeted.”
As I mentioned above, though, many of us are broke. That’s thanks to crushing student loan debt, insane rent prices and low starting salaries. Hey, don’t blame us! Older generations raised the cost of college, increased rent prices and lowered our salaries! We’re just making the best of a bad situation.
So how are we coping? Well, we’re constantly on the lookout for a good value, which can include things like online thrift shopping, ride-sharing and coupons. In my household, we have apps for all the stores we shop at, and we’re always clipping virtual coupons. Family Dollar is killing it in that space, by the way. They even let you spin a Vegas-style wheel to win more coupons when you purchase enough items in one trip.
Despite our lack of funds, we refuse to sulk in a corner, broke and depressed. Millennials are willing to spend the little money they don’t send to landlords and student loan companies every month on experiences. For me and my boyfriend, that means as many trips as possible, even if it requires us to spend literally all of our disposable income for the month on plane tickets. For my friends with kids that means trips to The Lego Store and Disney World.
And we’re not alone. In fact, the report says that, “About 48 percent of Millennials prefer spending money on experiences, rather than things.”
“Still wanting to get the most out of life, Millennial parents are willing to spend money to enjoy themselves,” the report explains. “Businesses need to ensure that this thirst for experiences is being used to their advantage, through their own products, the shopping experience or the relationship they build with their customers.”
In short, we all just want one thing — the perfect Instagram shot.
How do candy companies tap into this? Well, offer creative packaging and products that photograph well, and inspire customers to post a photo with #ThisIsSoCool. This is where novelty companies can truly shine and chocolate companies offering unusual flavors also have a shot at some free exposure.
This also extends to in-store experiences, which have a high bar to meet — they need to be better than shopping on your couch at 1 a.m. while watching “Breaking Bad” for the 75th time.
“The convenience of online shopping has drastically changed the retail landscape,” the report says. “This does not mean that in-store shopping has completely vanished. Retailers should ensure that the shopping experience in their stores is enjoyable. Using unique attractions such as VR technology, pop-ups or entertainment for children will likely attract more Millennial parents to their stores.”
Again, candy companies should see this as an opportunity. Gourmet chocolate pop-ups, candy-themed crafts in store, and VR technology to show customers where the cocoa in their candy bar is grown are all great examples.
In the end, Millennials are a lot of things, but the most noteworthy data point is simple — they’re the largest generation demographic in the country. According to Brookings, at over 75 million strong, they have even eclipsed the current size of the postwar baby boom generation. So it’s long past time to take them seriously.