Why are we all talking about millennials?

Why are we all talking about millennials?

A broad Google search reveals a high number of articles, reports and papers focusing on Millennials (people born in 1980 – 1995) as consumers of material and immaterial goods. But why do we have this interest for Millennials? The reasons are many: First generation growing up in an online world, best educated generation, a global mindset etc.

From a FMCG perspective the fact that Millennials account for 22.2% of the Danish population above age 14 but only 16.4% of disposable income should arouse interest. Today average disposable income for Millennials is more than 40% below generation X and Boomers. In the future we can expect that today’s Millennials will account for up to 40% of income – they will be the drivers of consumption. Understanding Millennials’ values, habits and attitudes is critical to future success.


A Nielsen research in 2016 across 60 countries identified differences between Millennials and other age groups, but it also demonstrated that Millennials’ values and habits in many areas are similar to both generation X and Boomers. In the following we will look at differences and similarities from the Danish part of the research.

Millennials in many ways have “traditional” values when it comes to career and family life. As part of their top 3 we find “Fulfilling Career” (34%), “Make Money” (27%), “Have Children” (29%), “Family Time” (37%) and “Buy a House” (21%). Marriage though is not very hot – just 11% have “Marriage” in their top 3 aspirations, indicating that Millennials are open for other ways of living together.

But where do Millennials differ from Generation X and Boomers? Millennials do not prioritize their own health as much as Generation X and Boomers. Only 36% of Millennials have “Fit & Healthy” among their top 3 aspirations vs 63% Generation X and 78% of Boomers. Millennials are more focused on organic products, meat alternatives and companies taking responsibility for their products.

Millennials eat out more often than Generation X and Boomers. 17.2% of the Millennials claim that they eat out at least once a week. For Generation X the share is just 12.2% and for Boomers even lower. Also when cooking at home Millennials want a helping hand. Only 25.8% claim that they never buy semi-prepared ingredients and only 14.7% never buy prepared dishes. For Generation X and Boomers the same shares are 38% and 27%. However, to Millennials price is the most important criteria when selecting between semi-prepared ingredients and prepared meals.


Players in the FMCG industry should be aware of the above similarities and differences when communicating to the shoppers. Traditional values regarding family life and career continue to be important. However, being fit might become less important whereas companies taking responsibility seems to become more important. Convenience, as expected, is growing in importance – in the form of eating out as well as getting a helping hand in the kitchen.