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Reaching the modern millennial: Psychographics & marketing tips

From Baby Boomers to Gen Z, every generation of consumers can be characterized by certain habits and traits which make them ‘unique’. Millennials grew up during the rise of tech and the internet—and this made them the first digitally savvy generation, accustomed to modern digital marketing methods. Another thing about millennials that’s unequivocally true? They’ve got buying power, and a lot of it—a 2022 report revealed their collective net worth had more than doubled since the start of 2020, reaching $9.38 trillion in the first quarter of 2022, up from $4.55 trillion1.

This leaves businesses with the increasingly challenging task of tailoring their audience targeting strategies to millennials’ unique interests, buying behaviors, and motivations, without disregarding the traits of other generations.

Simply put? If you haven’t yet analyzed millennial psychographics and incorporated them into your wider marketing strategy, you’re missing a trick. The ability to remain competitive within this specific demographic depends on your ability to not only engage millennials on a personalized and intuitive level, but to do so in a way that speaks to their values. So what can you do? The first step is to learn more about the psychographics of millennials; what drives them, and what they expect from the brands and businesses they buy from.


The facts about millennials: demographics and background

You can’t dig deeper into the values, beliefs and aspirations of millennials until you understand who they are at a basic level. This starts with narrowing down what statistical factors separate them from other generations.

Here are the key demographics of millennials at the broadest level:

  • Millennials are widely defined as being born between the years 1981 and 1996
  • The marriage rate for millennials is lower than any other previous generation at just 44%2
  • In the US, millennials’ average net worth based on 2022 population estimates is $127,793—more than double the average from two years prior3
  • Millennials are less likely to live with a family of their own than previous generations were at the same stage of life4
  • 94% of millennials own a smartphone5
  • 80% of millennials live within 100 miles of their hometown6
  • More female millennials are employed than in any other generation (72%)7
  • Just under half of millennials own a home8


Millennial psychographics: an overview

So you know the key demographics of millennials, but what actually matters to them? Why do they choose a particular brand or business? What are their goals and motivations? These are just a few questions you can answer by researching and creating a psychological millennial profile as part of your marketing strategy.

Here’s a brief overview of the key components that make up a millennial’s identity from a psychological perspective:

1. Lifestyle

The millennial lifestyle reflects the fact that they are the most educated generation, but not nearly as wealthy as their parents or grandparents were when they were the same age9. This has forced millennials to prioritize their spending more than other generations might have. As an example, 35% of millennials pay for a gym membership on a regular basis10 (which is more than Baby Boomers or Gen Xers pay) but they spend less on cars and clothes than previous generations.

They are also getting married and having children far later11, and are more entrepreneurial than older generations. Keeping these lifestyle trends in mind when targeting millennials is essential for understanding their point of view.

2. Values

Understanding commonly held values is integral to building an accurate profile of millennials. Their values guide the decisions they make in all aspects of their lives, helping them determine which products, services and brands they ultimately want to support.

Research shows that millennials value inclusion, with 77% saying their favorite brands demonstrate a commitment to unity and inclusivity12. They also value experiences over material possessions13, preferring to spend their hard-earned money on dining out, traveling, and being adventurous, rather than clothes, shoes, or gadgets.

Lastly, millennials value being successful in their chosen career path, but the way they measure that success is different from their predecessors. Millennials view work/life balance as a top priority14, and strive to be successful while staying in control of their non-work commitments.

3. Activities, interests, and opinions

So what do millennials like to do? Well, like most generations they love watching TV, listening to music, eating out, and spending time with friends and family. Digital streaming has become the standard when it comes to TV and audio. According to research by YPulse, listening to music is the top thing millennials do in their free time (50%)15. Spotify is the world’s most popular audio streaming service—and the number one choice for music discovery among millennials—with 489 million monthly active users (MAU) globally, of which 274 million are ad-supported.

It’s important to note that almost half the millennial population in the US—according to research—do not consider themselves to be religious16. They are also more than twice as likely than any older generation to identify as LGBTQ+17, and over half say systemic racism is widespread in general society18. Politically, just over half of US millennials (52%) consider themselves to be independent19—a growing trend that suggests confidence in the Republican and Democratic parties among this generation is very low. All of these points must be factored in when defining the millennial’s personality from a marketing perspective.


How to market to millennials

Now that we’ve gone over some key millennial psychographics, let’s talk about the techniques and strategies that resonate with this savvy generation.

1. Maintain rapid response times

One of the best ways to market to millennials is through consistent and timely communication. According to research, nearly half of all consumers (46%) expect companies to respond faster than 4 hours20—and this is especially true for millennials, who generally prefer to communicate with companies via live chat functions, social media and email, rather than by phone.

2. Make mobile a top priority

There’s no longer an argument: the online world has gone mobile, and millennials are the pioneers behind this seismic shift. In fact, close to 95% of millennials are thought to now own a smartphone21, and in the US, 73% shop on mobile 1-4 times per week22.

These statistics show millennials have already embraced a mobile-first shopping experience, and it only makes sense for businesses to meet them where they already are.

With Spotify Ad Studio, you can engage millennials with compelling audio ads, video ads, and hyper-immersive podcast ads on the go.

3. Take advantage of audio advertising

Did you know that 73% of American millennials feel that audio is the most immersive form of media?23 Along with Gen Zs, millennials make up the largest demographic of podcast listeners, with one in five listening every week, for an hour a day on average24. In the US, more than half of all millennial internet users are on Spotify.

In our 2021 Culture Next report, 62% of millennials said they liked audio advertising because it allows them to use their imaginations25. Thankfully, audio advertising with Spotify is a straightforward process that requires no expertise or previous experience. Whether you represent a client or your own small business, running an audio or podcast ads campaign on Ad Studio can lead to brilliant results—and is a fast track to reaching millennials on their favored media channel.

Connect with millennials on Spotify

Want more information on reaching this lucrative market segment? Read our guide on marketing to millennials on Spotify. Our intuitive self-serve advertising platform makes it quick, easy, and affordable to reach your target audience with engaging audio ads as they are immersed in the content they love.

Get started on your first campaign today.

  1. “Millennials’ Net Worth Has Doubled Since Start of Pandemic”, Magnify My Money. July 2022
  2. “U.S. marriage rate of 23-38 year olds by generation 2020”, Statista May 2020
  3. “Millennials’ Net Worth Has Doubled Since Start of Pandemic”, Magnify My Money July 2022
  4. “As Millennials Near 40, They’re Approaching Family Life Differently Than Previous Generations”, Pew Research Center May 2020
  5. “Millennial News: Latest characteristics research, and facts”, eMarketer April 2022
  6. “Most American Millennials Live Within 100 Miles of Their Hometown”, Mental Floss July 2022
  7. “Millennials in the Workplace Statistics: Generational Disparities in 2023”, TeamStage
  8. “These Charts Show Why Most Millennials Couldn’t Buy Homes at 24”, Bloomberg March 2022
  9. “Distribution of Household Wealth in the U.S. since 1989”, March 2023
  10. “12 Industries That Will Thrive Thanks To Millennials”, CB Insights June 2021
  11. “As Millennials Near 40, They’re Approaching Family Life Differently Than Previous Generations”, Pew Research Center May 2020
  12. “Millennials value unity more than diversity, study finds”, Campaign US 2023
  13. “NOwnership, No Problem: An Updated Look At Why Millennials Value Experiences Over Owning Things”, Forbes January 2019
  14. “Millennials Want A Healthy Work-Life Balance. Here's What Bosses Can Do”, Forbes July 2020
  15. “The Top 10 Things Gen Z & Millennials Are Doing in Their Free Time” YPulse June 2022
  16. “Almost half of US millennials ‘don’t know, believe or care if God exists’, study finds”, The Independent May 2021
  17. “LGBT Identification in U.S. Ticks Up to 7.1%”, Gallup February 2022
  18. “In its 10th year, the Deloitte Global Millennial and Gen Z Survey reveals two generations pushing for social change and accountability” Deloitte July 2021
  19. “Millennials, Gen X Clinging to Independent Party ID”, Gallup August 2022
  20. “7 ways to reduce customer service response times”, SuperOffice March 2023
  21. “Millennial News: Latest characteristics research, and facts”, eMarketer April 2022
  22. “Tapjoy: 73% Of Millennials Shop On Mobile 1-4x Per Week”, a.list October 2021
  23. Spotify Culture Next survey, U.S., among 510 respondents 15-40, April 2021
  24. “9 podcast facts every marketer should know”, GWI August 2022
  25. Spotify Culture Next survey, U.S., among 510 respondents 15-40, April 2021

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