Millennials may be many things, but they may not be what you expect. Millennials are the social generation. They’re the founders of the social media movement—constantly connected to their social circles via online and mobile. They prefer to live in dense, diverse urban villages where social interaction is just outside their front doors. They value authenticity and creativity, and they buy local goods made by members of their communities. They care about their families, friends and philanthropic causes. But they’re also coming of age in the most dire economic climate since the Great Depression–making their families, communities and social networks even more valuable as they band together.
Millennials are 77 million strong, on par with Baby Boomers, and they make up 24 percent of the U.S. population. This represents significant opportunity for brands that understand who Millennials are, where they live and what they watch and buy. In order to truly understand Millennials, however, they must be put in the context of the other generations. While there are varied definitions of the generations from the past century, Nielsen defines them as follows: