Indian millennials are emerging as chief wage earners; what they want

Understanding the millennial consumer and how he or she is currently placed in this cycle is critical then for these companies to reach out to people and tap their purchase wallets better.
Marketers for long have known the importance of millennials or those born after the year 1980. They are young, brand-conscious and don’t mind spending a bit more to improve their lifestyles. But in India they are also increasingly emerging as the chief wage earners at a time when their parents are approaching retirement, especially millennials in the 25 to 35 age-group says a new study by Deloitte.

This trend, explains Anil Talreja, partner, Deloitte India, sets India's millennials apart from their counterparts across the world and also puts added pressure on companies to identify what works and what doesn't within this group of people.

This is because, say experts, as the domestic market begins to evolve post disruptive measures such as demonetisation and introduction of the goods and services tax, understanding where consumers are going to fulfill their needs and who is driving the overall consumption basket will define the marketers of tomorrow. Consumer-facing businesses from retail to fast moving consumer goods, auto and telecom then, say experts, will increasingly look for more people willing to give their purchase basket a tweak.

Understanding the millennial consumer and how he or she is currently placed in this cycle is critical then for these companies to reach out to people and tap their purchase wallets better. What does the Deloitte study say about these young consumers?

According to Deloitte, India's millennials constitute 34 per cent of the country's population, ahead of markets such as Brazil, China, US and UK. This puts India, the report says, in the driver's seat, when it comes to understanding this demographic. Also this group in India is better educated and more connected to the world than their predecessors and account for 71 per cent of total household income, especially, in the 25-35 age-group. They are also willing to try out new things and experiment with jobs and new work profiles.

Millennials, says Talreja, unlike their predecessors, are not hesitant to pick up “blue-collared jobs” versus “white-collared jobs” and are not wary about job-hopping either. This is particularly true in the younger demographic of 18-24 years, where youth are either studying or starting out with new jobs. The need to discover oneself is stronger in this age-group, pushing them to jump from one place to another quickly and take up new challenges.

The money, honey

A break-up of monthly expenditure by millennials shows that 29 per cent of their expenses goes towards household essentials, followed by education (16.7 per cent) and utilities (13.5 per cent) respectively. While monthly rentals (in the case rented accommodation) or equated monthly installments (in the case of home loans), personal grooming and lifestyle-related expenditure constitute anywhere between 6 and 12 per cent of a millennial’s monthly expenditure, they still manage to save about 11 per cent of their income per month.

While lower than their predecessors, this trend, say experts, still points to the basic need to save that exists among millennials. Yet, the pre-disposition to spend, explains Talreja, is higher among millennials (than their predecessors) and opens up a plethora of opportunities for brands.

Millennials, he says, also place greater emphasis on healthcare and wellness, opting to spend more on fitness regimes and devices such as wearable tech bands that monitor their vital parameters. They are also particular about convenience when shopping or eating out, contributing in part to the growth seen in online shopping and online food ordering (in India) especially among younger working people.

Talreja says that millennials are also increasingly placing greater emphasis on ethical brands, basically those who are conscious of where they source their inputs or raw materials from and what practices are deployed to convert them into finished products.

“Millennials view brands from a holistic lens and place greater reliance on the ethos and value system of the brand,” he says.

The need for personalisation, says the Deloitte report, is also higher among millennials than their predecessors, pushing them towards categories that ensure it. “Aesthetic aspects are being given more importance than core functional aspects of a brand and that is driving personalisation,” Talreja says.

For companies, these trends will mean that their focus will have to be on products and services that are value-for-money, but have a high degree of personalisation. Millennials will also have to be increasingly reached via mobile applications and social media and brands will have to be socially-responsible when reaching out to them.

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