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OPINION1 December 2017

The motivations of Millennial Man

Opinion Trends

A new study has shined a light on the hopes, fears and priorities of the hard-to-reach Millennial Man demographic. By Lyndsay Peck.

The Engage Research study targeted Millennials – those born between 1987 and 2000 – and Gen Z men, those born after 2000.  An older demographic was also included to explore similarities and differences across the age groups, to understand how priorities differ.

We found that it is important for researchers to tailor their overall approach to this life-stage and to drive a sense of inclusion as a way of securing richer contributions from their sample. All three age groups of Millennial Man ( 18-24 years, 25-34 years and 35-44 years) reported finding market research to be ‘often dull and uninspiring’. The younger and older age groups complained that they didn’t receive feedback, while the two older age groups said they had no interest in research because ‘most marketing and products are aimed at women’.

Put simply, they don’t see the point in taking part in market research because they don’t feel valued. Too often it’s a boring experience. He wants to matter, he wants to know his contributions, ideas and opinions have been listened to and to see or feel a tangible result in the brands on which he has been asked to comment.

Around 60% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 35- to 44-year-olds feel they are unlikely to ever afford a house of their own (rising to 71% of 25- to 34-year-olds).

Today, the idea of being able to save enough to put down a deposit on a house feels like an unachievable mountain. In a world where everything happens now, the thought of giving up or cutting back for a couple of years feels like a life sentence. And to make matters worse there is no knowing whether, at the end of the couple of years cutting back, you will have actually saved enough to get a flat. So, for many, it’s to ‘hide from reality’ as long as possible and just enjoy the money he has, in ways he wants to.

More than two thirds of Millennial Men feel that ‘brands’ are important as a way of expressing themselves to others.

Younger men are more likely to go shopping and be invested in fashion, while the 35-44 age bracket is most likely shifting (or already shifted) into a different role.

Men of this age typically have, or are having, kids – if they are planning on it – so their free time to go shopping or invest in brands is limited. Half of those included in the survey claimed that brands enable him to express himself in a certain way to others. Some brands and products are used to let others know what he has achieved, what he can afford and who he believes he is, or wants to be.

And what does this mean for brands?

We found that Millennial Man puts greater value on experience than materialistic ownership. It’s about understanding what role or partnership the brand can play in his life; look to fit in with him rather than drive a change in attitude towards your brand’s way of thinking.

More than two thirds of men feel either strongly, or relate to the feeling, that brand is important; slightly more claimed affinity among those 24 years old or younger.

The study also found that 66% of men under 34 like or follow brands on social media. However, less than 55% of men in the 35 to 44 age group say they do the same. Just over 25% believe social media drives a fear of missing out. A quarter of men under 24 strongly feel this way, most likely following and engaging with numerous brands on social media on a regular basis. Only 16% of men aged 35 to 44 say the same.

Largely, when using social media for personal gratification Millennial Man is consuming information. He may share pertinent things with others (a select few rather than his cohort of followers), but curation is not common.  He will use social media as a source of information, to better expand his own knowledge and enrich his opinions. He isn’t overly interested, though, in engaging or immersing himself in pop culture.

Lyndsay Peck is a director at Engage Research