MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Whether you think they’re lazy, rude, or narcissistic, millennials are here to stay and will be the deciding factor as to whether your business will sink or swim in the future.
That was the message given by Justin Bailie – co-founder of FR8nex, a transportation management software provider – at a recent dinner and presentation hosted by the Delta Nu Alpha Transportation Network.
Bailie, an entrepreneur and millennial himself, spoke to attendees about millennials and how they are changing the game.
Here are five takeaways from his presentation that you (probably) didn’t know about millennials:
- They are the largest generation in US history
According to Bailie, every day in the United States, 10,000 people turn 21.
“When you walk through the mall and every mannequin you see and every poster you see…there’s a reason why everyone is depicted as being 21 – it’s because everyone actually is 21,” he said.
Millennials also make up almost 50% of the buying power in the United States today, spending $600 billion annually.
“They are going to soon pass the boomers for the largest amount of spending that’s happening,” he said. “ And by 2025…75% of workers globally will be millennials.”
- They’re hyper-social, not anti-social
Just because they’re always on their phone, doesn’t mean millennials are anti-social, said Bailie.
“Millennials know where everyone is all the time,” he said. “They can take pictures and share them and post live video. That’s not anti-social, that’s hyper-social.”
As well, their sense of community and culture is not geographically based.
“They can create groups online, they can find people with similar interests and friend request them,” he said. “The average millennial has 400 Facebook friends. That’s hyper-social. Millennials are curating themselves in real-time. They’re creating brands in real-time. Don’t mistake being on the phone as anti-social.”
Millennials are also the first-ever digital natives.
“They’re your interns who can now fix your e-mail problem in two minutes, when you used to pay a guy by the hour to come to your office to fix your e-mail,” Bailie explained.
Being hyper-social also means communicating in ways that are efficient. Ranked from most popular to least popular, Bailie said that millennials prefer to communicate with others in the following ways:
- Texting or instant-messaging applications (What’s App)
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- Phone call
- They are the most diverse generation yet
“Just over 50% of millennials in America today are white,” Bailie said. “And in the next couple of years – for the first time ever in history – less than 50% of Americans born that day will be white.”
This is a big deal when you consider that nearly 70% of baby boomers are white.
But it’s not just diversity in colour, stressed Bailie. Millennials are also more accepting of equality, and millennial-run companies are starting to value equal pay among men and women. Bailie predicted that soon, thanks to millennials, equal pay between men and women in the workforce will be a reality.
- They’re the most educated group of people in history
Bailie said that a recent poll suggested that eight out ten millennials today say it’s cool to be smart.
“For me, back in the ‘80s, smart was Steve Urkel,” he said. “Smart was a guy with glasses getting kicked into a locker. Smart’s cool now, and that’s cool.”
- They take pride in access and mobility, not ownership
It’s why companies like Airbnb are making a killing, said Bailie.
“We look at Airbnb as an alternative to hotels,” explained Bailie. “It’s perfect supply and demand, it makes great business sense.
“From a millennial’s perspective, I love cottages. But I don’t want to own one. I’d like to rent one for a month in Muskoka and I’d like to stay there, but I don’t want the maintenance and I don’t want the taxes.”
Airbnb solves that problem for millennials with just the click of a button. It also gives them access to review the cottage to prevent others from staying there if their experience isn’t ideal.
“There is no pride of ownership with millennials,” Bailie said. “But there’s pride in mobility and flexibility.”
Bailie’s presentation was the first of two on the topic of millennials. Delta Nu Alpha is hosting part two of the millennial discussion with another dinner and seminar night in March, where Angela Splinter of Trucking HR Canada will give a presentation to complement Bailie’s.
The date of the event is still to be determined.