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Catherine Colbert

Industry Lowdown: How Millennials Impact Industries

by Catherine Colbert | Dun & Bradstreet Editor

January 5, 2016 | 3 Comments »

Industry-Lowdown-illustration_1100px-02Take a look at some of the opportunities, trends, and challenges from industry profiles updated by D&B First Research editors in recent weeks, with a focus on how millennials are creating both opportunities and challenges for many industries.

Opportunity: Millennials Prefer Cats as Pets — In part because of their popularity among millennials, cats are the most popular US pets. The more than 73 million pet cats in the US outnumber pet dogs by 2 million, according to data from the Pet Food Institute reported by Pet Age. In a survey by Nestlé Purina, nearly half of the 1,000 respondents in the millennial age range said they own cats. More than 80% of millennial cat owners reported they own a cat because it fits in with their current lifestyle: Two-thirds of their cats stay entirely indoors. About 40% of millennial cat owners said that they talk about their pets on social media.

See our Pet & Pet Supplies Stores report for more on this and other industry trends.

Opportunity: Harley-Davidson Looks to Millennials to Revive Unit Sales — Looking to return unit sales to 2006 peak levels, Harley-Davidson is pinning its hopes on millennials by pushing its lower-priced urban motorcycles and its in-development battery-powered LiveWire motorcycle, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company’s banking on the under-30 crowd to spring for its entry-level $6,800 Street models, launched in 2014, to supplement sales to the main customer base, which is decades older. Baby boomers, Harley-Davidson’s bread and butter, tend to choose three-wheeled models and easier-to-mount lower-slung two-wheelers. Harley-Davidson aims to gain traction with younger buyers as its US market share for heavyweight motorcycles continues to slide — from 58% in Q1 2013 to 51% in Q1 2015. Gaining ground on the company are competitors such as Honda, which has cut prices, and Polaris, which has revived the Indian motorcycle brand and is building up its dealer network.

Check out the Motorcycle Dealers industry profile for more.

Trend: HR Apps Grow in Popularity — Growth in software as a service (SaaS) across the Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) industry and a rise in the number of HR-specific application vendors entering the market are changing HR tech strategies for 2016, according to HR Dive. SaaS is expected to be the preferred delivery method for a variety of HR applications such as payroll, benefits, recruiting, training, and analytics. New HR software vendors are also offering cloud-based applications to better compete with more established companies like ADP, Oracle, and SAP. HR administration is looking to free up resources by providing these self-service apps. By 2020, millennials are expected to account for nearly half of the global workforce, according to ADP, and companies are looking for efficient mobile and social platforms to support these digital natives throughout hiring and onboarding. More PEOs are also making plans to replace mobile versions of their systems with mobile apps to improve navigation, functionality, and aesthetics for clients. Companies that provide human resources management are using data analytics, as well, to uncover workforce trends in order to refine recruitment and compensation strategies.

Find more information in the Professional Employer Organizations industry profile.

Challenge: Religion Plays Smaller Role in Lives of US Millennials — US millennials are less religious than older Americans, according to a recent poll from the Pew Research Center. A growing number of millennials say they do not belong to any organized faith. In addition, only about 40% say religion is important in their lives, compared with more than half of those polled who are older. About a quarter of millennials polled attend church services on a weekly basis, compared with more than half of US adults in the silent generation or those born before 1946. Of the youngest millennials (born between 1990 and 1996), 40% say they pray every day, compared with 60% of baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and two-thirds of the silent generation. Only about half of millennials say they believe in God with absolute certainty, compared with 70% in the silent and baby boom generations. While researchers say young people may become more religious as they age, the generational differences regarding religion could endure.

For more insight, see our Religious Organizations industry report.

Opportunity: More Millennial Gardeners — The number of millennials interested in landscaping and gardening is growing, helping to drive demand for nursery and floriculture services. Between 2008 and 2013 the number of US millennial gardeners increased from 8 million to 13 million, a 63% rise, according to a recent study from the National Gardening Association. One reason for the growing interest in gardening and landscaping is the rise in home ownership among this generation. Due to generational awareness of sustainability and local food movements, millennials are also growing their own food as part of home gardening.

See our Nursery & Floriculture Production report for more on this and other industry trends.

Trend: Syndicated TV Shows a Hit with Millennials — Despite reports that millennials are flocking to TV programs via DVRs, Internet streaming, and other nonlinear platforms, more advertisers are turning to content aired in syndication to reach younger audiences. Animated comedies from TV syndication studio Twentieth Television are especially popular with viewers aged 18-34; these include The Cleveland Show, which boasts a median syndication-viewer age of 26, as well as Bob’s Burgers (median age of 30) and Family Guy (32). Viewers’ median ages are lower for episodes of these shows in syndication than they are for prime time broadcast airings. Part of the reason behind younger viewers choosing syndication over original broadcast programming is the timing of syndicated shows, which generally air before or after prime time. Millennials are more likely to stream or watch shows on nontraditional platforms during prime time hours.

Check out the Film & Video industry profile for more.

Trend: Soaring Demand for US Rental Housing to Continue — The number of renters as a percentage of US households is at its highest level — 37% — since the mid-1960s, according to a new report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) of Harvard University. Some 43 million families and individuals were living in rental housing in mid-2015 compared to about 34 million in 2005, the JCHS found. The factors driving the rise in demand for rentals include declining household incomes and tighter access to mortgage credit due to the last housing bubble. Demographic trends are also contributing to the rise in rentals, with millennials entering the housing market and more likely to rent. The decade-long increase in the number of people renting is broad-based, with all age groups, income levels, and household types more likely to rent in 2015 than in 2005. Looking ahead, the JCHS household projections suggest that, assuming constant homeownership rates, growth in the adult population alone will drive the addition of more than 4.4 million renter households by 2025.

Find more information in the Real Estate industry profile.

Challenge: Securing Supplies of Flowers — As flower-infused products grow in popularity, florists may find that sourcing flowers from their go-to wholesalers and importers will become highly competitive and potentially costly. Sought for their flavor, color, and touted health benefits, floral ingredients are increasingly being incorporated into a variety of products, from drinks to chocolates to popcorn, according to The Baltimore Sun. Sales of these functional beverages and foods, which are favored by the massive millennial generation, are seeing double-digit annual growth rates. Functional foods are projected to generate more than $123 billion in 2015 sales, according to New Hope Natural Media. Growth is driven by increasing consumer awareness and growing incidences of chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. Roses, pansies, lilacs, and lavender are typical flower choices for infusing. Another popular flower additive, hibiscus, has been found to lower blood pressure, according to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition. The Journal of Internal Medicine has reported that elderflower helps to reduce flu symptoms. A Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology study links chamomile to a reduction in anxiety.

For more insight, see our Florists industry report.

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Tracking the moves of consumer products makers since 2003, Catherine Colbert is an industry researcher, writer, and blogger. Previously, she spent ample time in magazine publishing, technical writing, ad copywriting, medical writing, and marketing. Follow her on Twitter.

I’m curious why Opportunity: More Millennial Gardeners says home ownership among millenials is rising yet Trend: Soaring Demand for US Rental Housing to Continue says millenials are more likely to rent. Seems contradictory but maybe not.

Also, what are the other generations called, between boomers and millenials?

    Catherine Colbert

    Lynett, this nifty link to Pew provides ranges and generation names.

    The infamous Gen X is what you’re thinking. Millennials are also called Gen Y. Home ownership for millennials was rising at the time the Nursery & Floriculture quarterly update was written. Millennials did not meet the lofty forecast by Realtors for upped home ownership rates by the end of 2015, however. Last I checked, they’d grown skeptical and are waiting a couple years to try to whittle down college debt. Can’t argue with that.

Really enjoy reading these Industry Lowdowns. Keep em’ coming!

Interested to know what term will eventually be coined for the generation AFTER the Millennials. I’ve heard Generation Z or Post-Millennials, but I am sure some new buzz word will be introduced into the lexicon in the years to come.

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