How Millennials Shop for Products & Services


Self-entitlement. A lack of professional loyalty, traded for self-priority. Praise-hungry. Sound like someone you know?

In reality, those qualities reflect the hyped-up stereotypes of Millennials. Some of these qualities may resonate truth, but framing the archetype of a Millennial in a positive versus negative light is all based on perception.

Actually, Millennials are a big slice of the population pie, full of adaptive, forward thinking, socially connected, and conscious individuals. Given such, they are invested in vetting the products that they purchase.

Here’s the real deal and how Millennials’ qualities alter the way that they search for products and services:

Shop With Purpose

One of the largest recent consumer trends in recent years is a desire for the purchaser to know the story behind the brand, and to choose products that are related to a good cause.

Take the nonconventional and successful company United By Blue, for instance. In a multi-prong approach, the outdoor brand manufactures products that are responsibly made, eco-friendly. It’s home to multiple coffee shop-retail stores. And for each purchase made, a portion of the proceeds goes towards the brand’s non-profit work, cleaning waterways around the country and globe. UBB continues to expand, grassroots style, with no plans of capping off growth.

Millenials care about this. If your brand is considering expanding its efforts to give back, you’ve got plenty of reason.

Astute and Aware

Scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, it’s fairly easy to connect the dots and realize who is a brand influencer. (I mean, how many photos with Nike shoes or Nalgene bottles does one person need?!)

While those folks may post inspirational content and feature awesome products,  Millennials have a discerning eye and ability to choose their purchases for themselves, based off of their own needs and desires. A Kardashian posting a hair spray or lipstick demo in Snapchat doesn’t equate to an instant sale.

Laugh it Up, Advertisements

Lapping-up advertising? More like: laughing up advertising. Millennials don’t mind—and in fact, get a huge kick out of—silly, entertaining, sarcastic riffs on real life. Just look at the Google Photos ad with anecdotes of people screaming and crying as their data allowance is blocked. HILARIOUS.

Bring it on, ad-creation squads.

Brand Discovery

Stumbling upon a brand—and the products and stories tied to it—is half of the excitement for Millennials. A sense of discovery and freedom of choice is not overrated.

Meaning, there’s mega opportunity for Facebook advertising. FB ads allow brands to target their audience based on the users’ personal preferences and interests. The system helps brand owners narrow their marketed population, introduce products to people with a need for those products, and hopefully, who are the most excited to make a purchase.

Fast, Quick, Simple

Of course, Millennials want to make purchases as quick and pain-free as possible. They are working long hours and fill their free time with playing hard!

As such, traditional PPC is still effective in Google and Bing search engines, especially if the consumer knows what they want to buy. They type in “softest bed sheets on earth,” and their eyes hit the top-of-page searches first. Hopefully, one of those search listings is exactly what they seek.

Millennials also live on mobile. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly (responsive, quick loading, easy buttons, intuitive checkout) say see ya later to those precious millennial dollars.

Remember, it’s all in perception

When considering the often Millennial assigned trait of “self-entitlement,” that might boil down to the generation holding a stronger sense of values in the forefront, such as family, home and hobby life.

What’s seen as the absence of professional loyalty could be connected to a need to transfer companies in order to pursue vertical movement, company involvement, and grow one’s skills.

And seeking praise: likely, that’s due to the era of helicopter parenting. And is positive reinforcement such a horrible practice, anyhow?

Be open to approaching advertising—and the characteristics of a millennial—with an out-of-the-box approach.

Share this article

You Deserve the Best.

Partner with Us.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.