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Recent Trends in Millennial Insights

Highlights from GutCheck's research into Millennials, and what that research means for the future of not only market research but product innovation, product development, and marketing at large.

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By The GutCheck Team

We’ve all learned a lot about Millennials in the past few months. From their hard-to-predict voting behavior to their questionable-at-best survival skills, the power of Millennials to take center stage and influence the world cannot be ignored. So we decided to take a closer look at this desirable target audience, compiling all the consumer insights and implications from our recent research to build an actionable persona. Below are the highlights from all we learned about Millennials, and what it means for the future of not only market research but product innovation, product development, and marketing at large.

Millennials Want Straightforward Social Media That Connects and Informs Them

In an exploratory study of what features matter most to both Millennials and teenagers (aka, Gen Z) when it comes to social media platforms, we discovered that both groups have replaced other media and communications tools with social media for the convenience and personalization it offers. Millennials were particularly focused on the convenience, expressing a desire for simple, straightforward apps, which they don’t have to spend time learning.

“I like to use social media to connect with others, and learn new things. Social media helps me stay current with things going on in the world, and see how other people view the world.” – 29, Male, Ohio

Millennials use social media on the go, in between other activities, and during downtime, so apps should be designed for short bursts of activity, with flexible content experiences conducive to both multi-tasking and in-depth consumption (like Apple’s News app). For some visuals on how teens and Millennials prioritize social features, check out the report summary here.

But They Don’t Appreciate Ads and Glitches in Their Apps

Our discoveries got us wondering: what keeps an app on Millennials’ and teens’ phones for the long run? Pokémon Go proved that it’s still possible to immediately capitalize on technological innovation and established appeal; but its swift decline means that it takes more than hype to maintain users’ interests. Not surprisingly, the apps that earn a lasting place in the lives of Millennials are those that are easy to use, streamline daily routines, and make their lives easier: the universality of Facebook and the organization of Pinterest were highly celebrated, and a desire for more apps that would help increase productivity was expressed repeatedly.

“I guess I’m kind of a forgetful person, so an app to turn up my air conditioning or down the heat, or turn off the lights, fans, TV, etc., would be very helpful in my daily life.”

– Female, 34, iPhone user, Frequent in-app purchases

But the crucial factors when it comes to loving an app are the presentation of ads and the efficacy of the app. Apps that are complicated, have technical bugs and crashes, or use too many of their phone’s resources are often targeted for deletion. And even though intrusive ads annoy Millennials, very few would pay to remove them, opting to just delete the app entirely. To learn more about what apps Millennials prefer, including screenshots of the most-used and suggestions for new ones, read the report summary here.

Millennials Want Freshness They Can See at Quick-Serve Restaurants

With Americans spending more on dining out than they do on groceries, it’s no surprise that teens and Millennials are frequenting quick-service restaurants (QSRs) more than ever. In order to help QSRs capitalize on this trend, we sought to better understand current impressions and behaviors surrounding their business, as well as what conveys quality to their young customers. Turns out that taste, location, and price drive most Millennials in their QSR choice, prioritizing cravings and freshness over overtly healthy options. Since it ranked so highly, we further investigated Millennial and Gen Z perceptions of freshness, revealing that in-view prep and ingredients that resemble what’s found in nature are what connote freshness.

Millennials were also sensitive to messaging that helps contribute to perceptions of freshness, including terms like “crisp” and “just picked,” and they were particularly appreciative of a clean, friendly atmosphere. It’s a fine line QSRs have to tread between speed and quality, but making freshness visible to consumers will help QSRs, including chains, go far with Millennials. As part of this research, we asked Millennials and teens to tell us which meals they eat at QSRs most often for, as well as how they’d rank some well-known QSRs. Read the full report here.

And They’re Looking for a Secure, Convenient Experience from Banks

Digital banking is already a part of consumers’ lives, with many relying on such services to track day-to-day account activity, read statements, and manage payments. But banks looking to expand into more advanced digital services, like mortgages and wealth management, must consider how they would be received by customers that span multiple generations. And when we asked both Millennials (ages 21-34) and non-Millennials (ages 35-55) if they’d be open to conducting these more involved banking processes online, Millennials were receptive, but concerned. Fraud and potential for security breaches were their main barriers to adoption, but many also lamented the personalized assistance and advice that digital banking lacks.

But overall, the convenience and accessibility of digital banking is enough to interest Millennials in more advanced services, citing the pushy sales techniques and long waits of in-person banking as particularly frustrating: they just want more customer service and data security. To learn more about the differences in banking habits of both Millennials and non-Millennials, access our results from a quantitative Agile Attitudes & UsageTM study here.

Though they often get a bad rap among marketers, Millennials aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Benchmarking your perceptions and taking note of consumer trends will help give you the advantage necessary to understand this ever-evolving segment. And if you’re planning to conduct a study targeting Millennials and considering incorporating mobile market research methods, check out our eGuide on best practices when conducting mobile research.

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