About the Millennial

Millennials, one of the hottest buzzword in history, have captured the eyes of the marketing industry the world over. They make up one of the largest portions of the consumer market today. As the force that drives the rejuvenation of economy, business owners and marketers always try to keep up with the shifting trends in these young consumers behavior. Not surprisingly, majorities often have thought every companies only use a sole strategy to endorse products into the entire millennial market, in fact each country will be home to different types of millennials and are proposed with distinctive methods. Millennials are the most ethnically and racially diverse generation. Foreign attitudes and aspirations show high level of diversities within individuals than commonly believed.

But how these prized consumers scatter critical discrepancies with different culture and region? Consider these will help you out:

Canada invented the very first telephone in 1876, but it only appeared in Malaysia almost 20 years later in 1891. And even in 1960, the telephone penetration after a century was yet at the nadir point of less than 1 per 100.
The once billed as the future of music– compact disc (CD) was finally fully developed in the 80’s, but for the next decade, Malaysians, by contrast, were playing their music from cassettes.

Academic differences
Further till the year 1990s of Gen Y, Malaysians towards overseas education for tertiary courses were still placed as the first consideration.

Every culture has experienced major changes, and while ours have too, the differences in our values continuously stay for a very long time. Our Asian value of conservative is deeply rooted, and one can’t deny that it’s demonstrated in different paths especially our maximum willingness to purchase.

The future of the global consumer market will be directed towards millennials, or more commonly known as Gen Yers. We need to learn how to define them accurately to best approach our local marketing behavior. The international definition of Millennials is those who born between 1980 and 2000. These millennials or Generation Y are the one who accelerates the engine of economic growth.


Millennials in Malaysia, the digital generation.

Millennials have taken up some 40%-50% of the current workforce, according to a 2012 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Malaysia. That makes them reviewed as a generation with high buying power with bringing more effects to the economy force, and that’s why Gen Y will soon dominate the consumer market.

Their drive, values, and ambitions certainly differ from the western generation. Millennials want to be empowered and be engaged. Growing up in a digitally savvy and technology-driven situation, they are more connected and thrive on being an active part of the community they are in.

Quick stats on Malaysia’s social media use:

Facebook is the most visited site in Malaysia, with 13.3 million users as at July 2013.
Highest users at 34.5% are aged 18-24 (born from 1990 to1996)
Then followed by 29.5% who aged 25-34 (born from 1980 to 1989)
And lastly, 16.3% are those aged younger at 13-17 years (born from 1997 to 2001)

However, you can’t possibly generalize the entire generation as one. Despite sharing similarities of behavior and preferences, other factors like race, education level of consumer, the level of income and the environment show differences if you compare the market studies of millennials across the globe. Malaysia is different from other country. Spending behavior or patterns is the prominent contrasting differences among these millennials.

But before we discuss the differences, there are three notable similarities among two different cultural groups of millennials: Familiarity, Quality and Complacent. They are the three categories that diverge the Asian and Western millennials.


Home grown brands
Despite the presence of global brands, the made in Malaysia brands are still able to hold up well and remain a preference in millennial’s favourite list. Many younger consumers are aware and familiar with these home-grown brands like Perodua as it is widely available in the country. Gen Yers are familiar to this local product which has a good coverage and popularization since the prior generation.

High-quality products
Millennials aspire to live their life to the fullest. They seek experience out– opting to spend money on travel or hospitality business, good food or luxurious goods and services more than any generation that has come before. Try as we might, Malaysians can never resist the call to buy new phones, and many of them have been iPhones. With the psychological satisfying feeling, Apple tops the list among millennials’ loves.

Craving for acceptance have driven youths into debt on items that could be easily lived without. The drastic rise in Malaysia streetwear brands newly promotes a popular culture among millennials. For this reason, Stoned & Co. instantly attracts millennial customers by offering stylish clothing at middle-high prices. Unlike their parents, millennials don’t care if the clothing isn’t especially long-lasting: they can always come back in a few months, when new designs will have already changed anyway.


Millennials in U.S, the seasoned community.

The American is always viewed as the decades-old preeminence and technology dominance that leads the globe. Similarly to the Asian generations, U.S millennials are also tech-savvy yet socially conscious. However the cultural experiences deviate how individuals think and how they behave in the daily basis. Both culture target on emotional connection between consumers and brands as the core competency to win their heart. For the American millennials they grew up in a developed country where latest facilities and equipment are invented and thus, advanced technology is the most relatable aspect to them. Living in a booming economy, U.S millennials have also experienced yet impacted by the economic struggles that previous generation or their parents face. Therefore they value authenticity and environmentally sound products over luxury brands. Malaysian millennials value social status above concerns, but keen documentaries of their own lives, the American youngsters purchase products harmonize with their values.

Disney is a brand millennials in the western have grown up with, so it isn’t too much surprise to see it among the most beloved. Nostalgia is the key emotional attachment which has now collaborated with franchises like Star War and Marvel. Each brand evokes the freshest pop culture and sharing moments with family. Millennials integrate their beliefs and values when choosing a brand and the Disney Company is still valued as the most family-friendly dreamland to support.

Millennials are instilled with a level of price sensitivity when shopping, which gives discount stores an edge. Over the past few years, Target is a heaven targeted at millennials with its prices, wide array of products, its smaller yet concentrated stores and trendy brands. These events appear to be the reasons why millennials are gravitating toward Target. With the combination of style and affordability, millennials can shop even when on a budget.

Social Network
YouTube stars are becoming increasingly powerful. You’ve probably seen a lot of prominent bloggers, models, and celebrities on social media, with amassing fan bases numbering in the millions. American millennials like this video-sharing and viewing platform because it’s easily accessible that anyone can create or upload contents. And also, they feel good about themselves when they became famous.


Effectively reach and retain Millennials.

Asian and western millennials should not be merged together, since the variance in living conditions and values can bring to different consumer behaviour. Brands that communicate within the region have to understand this diversity. A few models have been proposed for advertising to this young population. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a theory in psychology to study consumer’s purchase intention.

Physiological needs
Living in different cultural backgrounds, millennials have their own physical requirements for human survival, which can result in different purchasing decision.

Safety needs
Millennials pre-experience take precedence and dominate their behavior- war, natural disaster, economic crisis or poverty. Physical safety is more likely to be considered before they invest into a product.    

Social belonging
Interpersonal feeling of belongingness is strongly parallel to the environment millennials have grown up with. Frequent touch with specific brands indirectly influence the individuals to form and maintain emotional relationships.

Millennials yearn for getting recognition, status, respect and importance from others. They indulge in the sense of belonging and the desire to be accepted among social groups. Thus the buying intention is mostly based on the up-to-date craze.

Each individual has its own specific needs to perceive and focus. The desire expressed varied depending on the significance or aspiration that one holds.

Self- transcendence
The most notable difference between millennials is those in developed and in developing countries, where developed communities wearing frugality, while those in the developing world spatter over luxury brands.

Ying Ting

Ying Ting —— a Key Account who helps clients to brainstorm on the brand strategist, build the relationship with clients and manage the digital marketing of the company. I'm a person who loves planning and at the same time running a personal business. I'm available for branding consultancy. Kindly contact me through ting@cartiercreative.net.

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