It’s expected that 2015 will be the year Millennials outgrow Baby Boomers in numbers. According to the U.S Census Bureau, an estimated 75.3 million Millennials, compared to 74.9 million Boomers, will soon become the largest generation in the country.
In a recent report by Goldman Sachs titled “Millennial’s Coming of Age,” it's also projected that Millennial's new leading role will inevitably have an impact in the economy, meaning that now, more than ever, new companies that embrace the following core Millennial values will have a better shot at winning their hearts and minds, and maybe even see the light of a new day.
There’s got to be a smarter way
Millennials value smarts more than any other generation—especially on how they spend their money. Finding ways of getting what they want, in a convenient and inexpensive way, is a big priority for this generation. This is not to say they don't value quality; they do, but they expect to get it at the best possible price without sacrificing much of their comfort in the process.
Because of this, sharing services like Uber and Airbnb have far exceeded expectations. Since their conception, these platforms have embraced the Millennial mindset of finding clever ways of reinventing current broken systems. They have offered a simple, reliable and often cheaper service that defies the common norm. Today, there’s no need to pay for an expensive taxi ride or deal with overbooked hotels; requesting to “pool” with a fellow passenger or booking a room in a complete stranger’s home is a no-brainer for this generation.
According to a recent survey by Zogby Analytics, 54% of Millennials (age 18-34) agree ride and home sharing services will become even more popular in the near future. So it’s not too far-fetched to think new startups that pursue smarter solutions to broken or outdated systems, will have a better chance at making a bigger splash.
They seek meaning
It might be based on their moral obligation or pure self-delusion, but Millennials are constantly looking for a higher purpose in the things they do and from the companies they support. For them, their professional and personal lives are driven by purpose, and they expect the companies they support—and employ them—to see it that way too.
That’s why the majority of Millennials vouch for companies that stand for a work-life balance. Giants like Apple, Google and Facebook are well appreciated by this generation, because they have baked this idealistic marriage of work and play into their corporate cultures. Yet, a big number of Millennials see entrepreneurship as a more successful path than working their way up the corporate ladder. Unlike Baby Boomers, most Millennials see venturing into starting a business of their own as a way to truly achieve their independence. In a 2014 survey conducted by Bentley University, 67% of respondents, almost two-thirds of those surveyed, agreed on having a goal of starting their own business one day.
What’s more, even though they understand how difficult it will be for them to create the next Uber, Millennials still believe putting the time and effort to follow and develop their own companies and passion projects will teach them more than spending part of their lives strapped to a desk.
It’s their time to rewrite the future
Climate change, the 2008 recession, and the geopolitical situation of the past decade, are only a few of the factors that have had an impact in the Millennial mindset. Many have heard their grandparents say, “It didn’t used to be so hot this time of the year,” or witnessed their parents’ investments take a big hit when the economy plummeted a few years back.
Millennials value the entrepreneurship behind startups, because startups themselves are a proposal for doing things differently; they explore alternative ways to deal with the current social, economical and political landscape through better-integrated digital platforms and newer technologies. Current trends like wearable tech, 3D printing and the sharing economy are only a few examples of how these new Millennial-centric companies, and their products and services, are trying to redefine the world we live in today.
The Millennial appetitive for the startup economy is here to stay, and it’s being evident in the top digital conferences around the country. During this year’s SXSW Interactive, the space used for startup-related events doubled in size in comparison to 2014. What’s more, participation from startups from around the world also increased during the event. That is a clear indicator of how the entrepreneurial culture is growing in and outside our borders, and led by a generation that’s definitely driven by the promise of change.