Nielsen Millennials Reveal Their Cohorts’ Digital Power

By Charlene Weisler Nielsen Archives

Nielsen has launched the latest in a series of Millennial studies that was created by its own Millennial employees.  As the company notes, who better to measure the shared “experiences of this up-and-coming generation than associates who are most familiar with the lifestyles that the data tracks?”  This most recent study focuses on digital music and digital communication.

“What we have found in our Nielsen Millennials on Millennials series of reports is that this generation is significantly different from previous generations,” stated Ronjan Sikdar, Vice President of Media Analytics at Nielsen.  “The sheer size of the Millennial population makes them game changers for advertisers and media companies.  They are very social, far more digitally savvy and yet far less loyal to the digital music and messaging apps they use.  We will continue to track how that will play out in the future.”

The highlights of this study are as follows:

  1. Unlike Gen Z many Millennials are entering their peak earning years and, because they are the second largest generation (to the Baby Boomers) they wield tremendous spending power. However, the study indicates that they have completely unique consumer characteristics which pose both challenges and opportunities for brands.  The way Millennials spend, shop, consume media and interact is anything but familiar from a historical perspective.
  2. Since they are truly the first all-digital generation, their digital engagement is the nexus for predicting their consumer behaviors.  Every digital channel represents a key interaction and deep connection point for brands, marketers and advertisers.
  3. Millennials are not as loyal to specific media.  They are spending much less time with TV than previous generations.  But that doesn’t mean they’re consuming less content.  The report notes that to the contrary, Millennials are engaged with digital services during all waking hours of the day and many keep their devices close at hand -- and turned on -- when they sleep.
  4. Despite digitization, radio still has a large following across the generations, especially Millennials.  The reach of digital radio has increased (and broadcast radio is holding its own) across all generations for the past five years.  In fact, according to Nielsen’s first-quarter 2017 Total Audience Report, weekly reach among Millennials is 93% and they are spending the same amount of time listening to traditional radio as they were a year ago despite more competition for their attention.
  5. Podcasts and on-demand streaming are other radio options for Millennials.  Nielsen’s 2016 Year-End Music report noted that 60% of Millennials use two or more apps to stream music vs under 40% for adults 35+.  Thirty-seven percent of Millennials listen to podcasts at least once a week and 13% listen every day (significantly higher than the 5% of consumers 35+ who listen daily).

When it comes to media choices, Millennials are ambidextrous.  While they have increasing choices of platforms and content services, they are able to easily consume content on many of them. Nielsen concludes that these newer media options are not cannibalizing existing ones which is good news for content providers.  Advertisers, however, need to be nimble and knowledgeable so as to be able to reach these valuable consumers at the right time on the right platform.

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