As the largest demographic of consumers today (at least until Gen Z rears its head), millennials are seeing more purchasing power each year as businesses scramble to earn their loyalty. Brands are getting hip on Twitter, acquiring millennial-focused companies and capitalizing on food trends.
If this current trajectory is any indication, we can expect to see more of these types of changes in 2018 as younger consumers dominate the market. Here are five times millennials drove business decisions in 2017.
1) They made junk food healthier.
Millennials don’t love snacks quite as much as baby boomers, but no one can deny they’re leading the charge when it comes to healthier snack options. Instead of reaching for cookies and chips, millennials are packing fruits, veggies and yogurts.
Taking this into account, Frito-Lay made the huge decision to introduce new products this year based on millennial tastes. These healthy versions of their current line of indulgent snacks will limit the bad stuff and add more fiber and whole grains.
Bonus: Frito-Lay also added new flavors to its already-impressive lineup, bringing the total to 3,000+ different tastes, including Crispy Taco and Fried Green Tomato. Sounds like someone’s capitalizing on millennial diversity and love of savory flavors!
2) They brought back cookies for breakfast.
But life’s all about balance, right? Millennials aren’t just munching on protein bars and low-sodium, low-calorie chips. They also love to indulge.
This year, Post relied on consumer indulgence in introducing two new, sugar-filled cereals to the market, based on Nutter Butter and Chips Ahoy cookies. Essentially, they’re encouraging consumers to eat cookies and milk for breakfast.
Why is this a good business move? Not only does it capitalize on the millennial-centric nostalgia trend (who didn’t love a good Chips Ahoy! cookie back in the day?), it takes advantage of research showing that millennials are more likely to eat a bowl of cereal as a snack than any other demographic. Post is hoping to corner the “indulgent-breakfast” segment of the market by riding the wave of nostalgic, sugar-hungry millennials to the top.
3) They prompted widespread panic in the cable industry (again).
Just when we thought the “cord-cutting” panic was dying down and the industry was accepting that streaming services are king, millennials reared their ugly heads and disrupted everything (again). How? Password sharing.
The industry is initiating a crackdown on password sharing. Not the kind of password sharing where a college kid shares their parents’ account, but the kind where one consumer shares their password with 15 friends, resulting in 14 people receiving cable streaming access for free.
The crackdown has begun with cable companies urging programmers to frequently force subscribers to login and restrict the amount of people streaming on one account at the same time. More strict measures may be on the way as the cable industry fights to survive.
4) They caused a partnership designed to reinvent cooking.
Shortly after London-based Quipup put out feelers for new ways to engage millennials, they engaged in a partnership with Hellman’s designed to target the tech-savvy demographic. Similar to food delivery apps like GrubHub and UberEats, Quipup will now provide on-demand recipes and ingredient delivery to consumers.
With the tap of a smartphone, everything needed to create a recipe will be delivered fresh within the hour. This move is specifically meant to target millennials who impulse buy with their stomachs. It also caters to the on-the-go time-sensitive nature of the demographic.
5) They shook up monetary transfers.
Speaking of saving time, money-transferring app Venmo saw enormous success this year, fueled almost entirely by its appeal with millennial audiences. What began as a small idea blossomed into a huge company that attracts younger audiences with quick cash-sharing accompanied by a feed of your friends’ activity and topped off with emojis.
Venmo’s founders knew they had a good idea, but didn’t have the know-how to implement it efficiently and effectively. Luckily, the boost from their die-hard millennial audience prompted them to keep working at it, and today their growth is on-par to start competing with huge companies like Facebook in the coming years. Thanks, millennials!
They killed everything. Seriously, everything.
Want to learn more about millennials, theirs snacking habits and everything they killed this year? Check out our new eBook on millennial snack marketing!