Why Millennials matter to your business

Posted2/24/2019 1:00 AM

Chicago-area readers will understand that the following few words are a bit like me suggesting you have a roofer check your house the day after a storm tears the shingles off your neighbor's place, but: The Homeland Security booklet "Active Shooter, How to Respond" is pretty good. You can download it at https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/active-shooter-how-to-respond-2017-508.pdf.

Now, a few words about Millennials, the generation born between 1981 and 1996 and the original topic for today. Yes, Millennials and their potential impact on American society already have been discussed far too often for many tastes. Yet if you own a business of almost any sort, this generation is your customer base -- if not today, certainly tomorrow.


Among the information from the non-partisan Pew Research Center you should tuck into your head for use as you plan ahead:

• Millennial ages run from 22-37.

• As a group, Millennials are well educated. Just shy of 40 percent have a bachelor's degree or higher. Millennial women are significantly more likely than men to have at least a bachelor's degree. Depending on what you're selling, that could mean the women in your market have stronger opinions on product and services purchases than their mothers -- or even their older sisters -- did, which in turn could mean your marketing and support approaches to Millennial households might benefit from a review.

• According to data in Pew's Millennial Life: How Young Adulthood Today Compares with Prior Generations, which was published earlier this month, "Millennials with a bachelor's degree or more and a full-time job had median annual earnings valued at $56,000 in 2018." That's not bad.

Millennials without a college degree had far less income.

• Millennials apparently are not the job hoppers so many say they are -- which may mean their finances are in better shape than many of us believe. According to Pew Research, 79 percent of Millennials report working for their current employer for at least 13 months; 77 percent of Generation Xers, those whose ages ranged from 38 to 53 in 2018, had worked for their current employer for the same amount of time when they were the same age.

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According to Pew data, about half of both demographic groups said they had worked for their employer for five or more years.

Maybe Millennials have more financial stability than we expect, and maybe that matters to your business.

There's more, of course: Millennials are more racially and ethnically diverse than previous generations, and they tend to postpone household formation and marriage -- not necessarily the same thing -- longer than those of us who are older.

How important the data are depends very much on the scope and breadth of the goals you have for your business -- keeping in mind that it's easy to lose track of what the numbers in any study actually mean to your business.

The Washington, D. C. based Pew Research Center is a highly respected organization that focuses on demographic trends, social issues and public opinion. You can download the report at


© 2019 Kendall Communications Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter. Write him at Jim@kendallcom.com. Read Jim's Business Owners' Blog at www.kendallcom.com.

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