Carefully Crafted. Quality Design.

Think You Know Millennials? Think Again

By MaryLeigh Bliss
Original article at MediaPost

After years of talking about Millennials, sweeping generalizations and stereotypes about the generation are still ruling much of the conversation. But the reality, which we see here every day in our research, is that not all Millennials are alike. A group of 97 million people cannot be painted with one brush, and it’s time to take a deeper look at who they really are. We segmented Millennials to get a better understanding of the differences and uniqueness that exists within the generation.

The Supremes: 20% of the population
48% female, 52% male
58% under 21, 72% still live at home with their parents

These social high achievers are striving for success with high GPAs and a big-ticket educations. These young Millennials have been less effected by the recession and are slightly privileged, making a little more than their peers, and are more likely to come from higher income houses. They are also a little more self-focused than other groups, concerned with their appearance and being fit. Probably because they care about what others think about them, Supremes are friend-centric. They’re influenced by word of mouth, and counting on their friends’ opinions to guide everything from their style to whom they date.

The Alt. Idealists: 18% of the population
55% female, 45% male
61.6% are 22-31, 45% live with parents, 18% live with roommates

Alt. Idealists are the most cause-oriented of all segments, environmentally friendly, and devoted to helping those worse off than themselves. These Millennials value individuality, creativity, and tolerance above all, and are independent thinkers. Their independent spirit impacts their career choices, and they’re least interested in working for a big company, and more likely to want a small or start up experience at work. Alt. Idealists thrive on discovery, exploration and trying new things. They are not following trends, but likely making them and producing their own stuff — clothing, art, content — to express their individuality.

The Moralistic Middles: 23% of the population
58% female, 42% male
39% 25-31, 55% still living at home with parents

This traditional group is slightly older, has strong family values, and more traditional plans for their futures. Moralistic Middles love spending time with their families, and this family-oriented nature keeps them close to home. Though many have the idea that Millennials just don’t care about marriage, this group is ready to settle down. They believe in old-fashioned courtship, are looking for long-term relationships, and are the most likely to want children. They also have slightly more mainstream tastes, shying away from indie music or trendy styles. But don’t make the mistake of thinking they are boring—expressing their emotions is important to them, and they are enjoying the moment, while keeping an eye on the future.

Muted Millennials: 28% of the population
49% female, 51% male
63% under 21, 72% still live at home with their parents

Muted Millennials have been hardest hit by the recession, and are a bit lost. They’re most likely to be currently unemployed, and 50% of those who are working say it is “just a job.” They are young and haven’t found their path yet. This is a cautious group, unsure of their futures and their footing. The events of the last decade have made them unwilling to take risks, and they feel less confident about their points of view than other groups. Contrary to the group-oriented, attention-hungry stereotype of Millennials, Muted Ms have a streak of the loner in them, and attention and getting famous are not important to them.

The Beta Dogs: 11% of the population
26% female, 74% male
40% 25-31, 50% live with parents, 18% live at home with parents, 24% live alone

Beta Dogs are a majority male segment that is enthusiastic, passionate, and strong-minded. Their attitudes showcase some of the tensions at play in being a Millennial male today. Though they crave success, they are least likely to say that working hard and standing up for themselves are important. Beta Dogs also skew Hispanic, and are the most likely to be married. But even though some might have technically settled down, they are not all living a settled life. Beta Dogs are active partiers, binge drinking once a week, and want an adrenaline rush. In fact, they are the biggest spenders of all segments, willing to splurge on fashion and luxury and spending more than other groups on food, entertainment, and clothing each month.

MaryLeigh Bliss is trends editor and strategic consultant at Ypulse.