Brands matter to Millennials, new Engage Research study shows

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More than two thirds of Millennial Men feel ‘brands’ are important as a way of expressing themselves to others; nearly two thirds of men under 34 say they like or follow brands on social media whilst younger men are the most likely to go shopping, according to a new study into the priorities of Millennial Man conducted by consumer insight agency Engage Research.

The agency conducted the study to shine a light on the hopes, fears and priorities of Millennials –– those born between 1987 and 2000 – and Gen Z men, those born after 2000.

“The study showed us that younger men are more likely to go shopping and be invested in fashion, while the 35-44 age bracket is most likely shifting (or already shifted) into a different role,” explains Lyndsay Peck, Director, Engage Research.

“Men of this age typically have or are having kids, if they are planning on it, so their free time to go shopping or invest in brands is limited. While likely to claim a relatively low level of recognition, half of those included in the survey claimed that brands enable him to express himself in a certain way to others. Regardless, some brands and products are used by way of letting others know what he has achieved what he can afford and who he believes he is or wants to be.” 

What does this mean for brands and retailers

“Well, being open to spending more is exciting, but we need to remember he puts greater value on experience than materialistic ownership,” continues Peck.  “It’s about understanding what role or partnership the brand can play in his life, look to fit in with him rather than drive a change in attitude towards your brand’s way of thinking.”

More than two thirds of those participating felt ‘brands’ are important as a way of expressing themselves to others. Over 76% of men under 24 want brands to listen to them more. This number drops as age increases.

Overall, over two thirds of men feel either strongly, or kind of relate to the feeling that brand is important; slightly more claimed affinity amongst those 24 years old or younger, with the figure dropping ever so slightly amongst the older (35-44 year olds) men. He cares about brands that enable him to express his personality: what he wears, the technology he purchases, for example.

Other findings from the study included:

66% of men under 34 say they like or follow brands on social media. However, less than 55% of men in the 35-44 age group say they do the same. Just over 25% believe social media drives a fear of missing out. A quarter of men under 24 strongly feel this way – most likely following and engaging with numerous brands on social media on a regular basis. Only 16% of men aged 35-44 say the same.

Largely, when using social media for personal gratification Millennial Man is consuming information. He may share pertinent things with others (a select few rather than his cohort of followers), but curation is not common.  He will use social media as a source of information, to better expand his own knowledge and enrich his opinions. He isn’t overly interested, though, in engaging or immersing himself in pop culture.

Almost half of 18-24 year olds are conscious of actively taking selfies and sharing them on social media. This drops dramatically in the older groups – to around 12%.  While he may feature in a selfie, the chances are he’s being forced to pose and smile by his girlfriend or other people in the snap.