In a previous article, we highlighted the profound change that has taken place in the cultural landscape of the US: a majority of America (53%) now live in a household with high multicultural influence. What was once considered “multicultural” is now mainstream. Now let’s look at multicultural Millennials – who they are and how to reach them.
For multicultural Millennials, culture and its expression are more than accessories to life; they are intrinsic, critical components to self that are interwoven into everything they think, do, and are. Each of the group’s subsets – African American, Asian American, and Hispanic Millennials – take extra steps to remain connected to their cultures and, for those with whom it’s appropriate, their home countries. However, the methods by which multicultural Millennials remain connected differ from their older cohorts. Many multicultural Millennials stay connected to their family members and home countries through technology. 89% of Millennials who have called Mexico for personal reasons are multicultural.
The population also values cultural experiences outside of their own. This can be seen in the over two-thirds of all Millennials who agree that it’s important to speak a language other than English. As such, marketers who have been successful in reaching multicultural Millennials have taken extra steps to provide points of entry to products and services that will help members of that population stay connected with each other. In doing so, they have an easier time remaining top-of-mind with multicultural Millennials.
The Multicultural Millennial
The U.S.’ 75 million Millennials, age 18-34, are the country’s second largest generation, and include the often overlooked multicultural Millennials, those young people of African American, Asian American, and Hispanic heritage who comprise 42% of the cohort and are the nation’s largest workforce demographic. These young people are bridging the gaps between their own generation and both younger and older cohorts. They are also fully ambicultural, effortlessly bridging the gaps between their birth culture and other cultures. This multiplier effect should and can be harnessed by marketers and advertisers.
Twenty-one of the country’s 25 most populated counties boast a majority multicultural population, representing local markets that drive 47% of the total U.S. gross domestic product. For the first time since the 1920s, populations in urban centers are growing more quickly than they are outside of cities. Multicultural Millennials are choosing homes in a variety of metropolitan areas, having been driven by cultural connections, career options and economic opportunity, and they are profoundly influencing all of the communities in which they live.
Multicultural Millennials’ broad, unique buying habits are inspiring successful, popular cultural trends, and are having a profound effect on their peers, their parents and their children. This halo effect is one of the cohort’s key attributes.
Multicultural Millennials also insist on expressing their connection to culture on their own terms, with palates that have been heavily influenced by their parents. Their food choices have become mainstream, and their insistence on their availability is influencing options in the marketplace in profound, permanent ways. Multicultural Millennials are also increasingly drawn to a variety of retail categories, including dollar stores, convenience/gas locations, warehouse clubs, online, and mass merchandise. Favored categories include ethnic hair and beauty products, toiletries, hosiery / socks and skin care products.
When they dine out, multicultural Millennials want a comprehensive menu that reflects their diverse, culturally derived tastes, and the influence those tastes and demands are having on the grocery and restaurant industries is profound and indisputable. The multicultural Millennials palate has been heavily influenced by their parents, and the population places a high value on the authenticity of food options. Those acquired tastes are having a profound influence; what were once considered “ethnic” — tacos, chili, sushi, “soul food” — have become mainstream, with Millennials never knowing a world without them and actively seeking them out.
Sports, fashion, personal upkeep, and photographic supplies offer product lines that index very well with multicultural Millennials, as they intrinsically provide opportunities for the culture-based self-expression that they value. Millennials sharply over index in the purchase of NBA and WWE-related apparel, and are 21% more likely to purchase sports apparel emblazoned with sports-related logos than Boomers. Seen across all multicultural Millennial sub-groups, the connection to a variety of spectator sports and the consumption of sports- related products allows multicultural Millennials to connect with and express affiliations with groups aside from their cultures of origin. To multicultural Millennials, connections to sports teams and leagues are as vital as those to ethnic groups or professional affiliations and provide yet another channel for marketers to connect with them.
Even more than the products they buy and the retail channels they employ, multicultural Millennials value experiences, and look to products to enhance and support their connections to their culture. One of the ways in which they cultivate those connections is via technology, with 96% of multicultural Millennials having a smartphone as they influence more than $1 trillion in total consumer packaged goods and entertainment spending. Over 30 million multicultural Millennials are constantly connected to the internet, spend over $65 billion per year on their mobile devices. Multicultural Millennials prefer retailers with a broad, culturally diverse merchandise selection, and actively create content for and share on social media.
Far more than a workplace tool, cell phones are helping almost two- thirds of multicultural Millennials decide what they’re going to do in their free time, and more often than not, that free time includes cell phone usage. They are 77% more likely to say that they are fully connected to online resources from the moment they awake until they fall asleep.
Think about that: there’s not a second of the day when multicultural Millennials aren’t connected via their phones. Nearly half use their mobile devices to compare prices and browse when shopping, and almost 80% agree that the internet is a great place to buy products – which is easier for that generation to do since they maintain and value their connection to the internet during the entire day. Marketers and advertisers should consider social media when reaching multicultural Millennials, particularly Facebook Messenger, Google, Spotify and Twitter.
Multicultural Millennials are also changing the television landscape – 31% of them have internet-enabled smart televisions.
In addition to the influence they command on their more mainstream peers, there is another reason marketing professionals should be interested in multicultural Millennials: many of them are first generation professionals who are in prime acquisition mode. Their disposable income is ripe for the picking to those companies who court them and cultivate their business. Half of all Millennials (and non-Hispanic whites) have an income of over $50,000, and over a third of multicultural Millennials command those salaries.
For more details, buy our full report: Multicultural Millennials: The Multiplier Effect >>
Courtney Jones currently serves as Vice President, Multicultural Growth and Strategy focused on growing Nielsen’s footprint as a leader in multicultural insights. Prior to her current role, Courtney was responsible for managing community outreach, events, and diversity efforts as a Vice President with Nielsen’s Public Affairs team. Courtney began her Nielsen career with the Client Learning Services division, assisting clients with maximizing their media ratings software solutions. She currently serves on the Board of Advocates for Citizen Schools NY, an organization committed to improving success outcomes for middle school students by expanding the learning day.