How Millennials Are Redefining The Role Of Grandparents

Of the many differences between Millennial Moms and their predecessors, there is one influence that is worth noting for marketers and that is the redefined role of grandparents. The Millennial Moms’ parents as grandparents play a much bigger and more detailed role in the family, not only for the Moms but also for their children.

The Millennials’ desire to enrich child/grandparent relationships (typically the Boomer generations) offers a unique opportunity for marketers whose products and services reach across multiple generations, from the baby market to Boomers as grandparents, and, of course, the powerful Millennial generation in between.

In a recent survey, we asked Millennial Moms about their relationships with their own grandparents:

  • Over 70% say they saw grandma and grandpa on a regular basis based on proximity;
  • 44% used frequent phone calls to stay in touch;
  • 40% say they stayed with grandma and grandpa when their parents traveled without kids. 



It’s true that this is not a drastic difference in the role of grandparents in past generations. However, what sets today’s younger grandparents apart is the use of technology to redefine the relationship between grandparent and grandchild. 

As Millennials blaze a technology-laden trail through every phase of their parenting journey, their moms and dads are eagerly embracing the same tools to stay connected to their grandchildren every step of the way. While 36% of Millennial Moms say they traveled to visit grandparents and 35% exchanged cards and letters, these Moms have introduced live video to enrich the conversation. 

  • FaceTime is more popular with Millennials, with almost 35% saying they video chat with this tool;
  • 27% use Skype to deepen the relationship between the two generations that sandwich them.

I expect this number will only increase as Millennials are more than willing to purchase everything from iPads to e-printers to make sure their children and parents keep in touch. In a focus group last year, I asked Millennial Moms about the use of wireless printers. One mom explained that she had purchased a wireless printer for her mother so children’s pictures could be emailed to grandma’s printer at home. Many moms in the conversation agreed with her comment, “My mom likes to have printed photos of children but I keep my pictures on my phone, so if I email a photo to her wireless printer, it saves me the work of mailing it.” Several Millennial Moms in a separate focus group explained that they intended to purchase an iPad for their parents so they could Skype and FaceTime with their grandchildren. 

For marketers, this means a unique opportunity to sell products and services to two generations of women. The technology examples extend to other categories like multigenerational travel, education, toys and household items. Research indicates that almost 33% of Boomer grandparents contribute to education, lessons or activities for their grandchildren and the majority of family vacations include several generations, with grandma and grandpa footing the bill.

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