Archive for 2012
27th Nov 2012 Posted in: YAYA Wire 0
The Social Media Paradox:  Millennials want more privacy while being social online

By Katy Tripses

Gen Yers, to the dismay of some in older generations, are known to share nearly every aspect of their personal lives through updates, statuses, photos and more. However, statistics are showing that the YAYA market is beginning to use social media in a more conservative, private manner. In fact, 84% of 18-24 year olds believe that too much private information is shared over the Internet (MRI 2012). So, what’s the discrepancy?

As Millennials have grown up and reached the stage of beginning professional careers, many have realized the content on their social media accounts can adversely affect their futures. According to a study done by Pew Internet Research, this is especially true among Millennial college graduates. The report says, “Social media users who are college graduates are significantly more likely to say they experience some difficulty in managing the privacy controls on their profiles.”

Because of this, the YAYA demographic has become more diligent about cleaning up their profiles, untagging themselves from embarrassing photos, and filtering what can appear on their walls. The same study from Pew Internet Research found that 37% of adults using social media had untagged photos and 44% had deleted comments. However, privacy controls of most social media sites are limited and found by many users to be largely ineffective.

To help Millennials stay in touch online, while maintaining an appropriate level of privacy, sociologist Mark Weinstein has developed the social media site, Sgrouples. Developed with what Weinstein calls “privacy by design,” Sgrouples is a social media aggregator that does not spy, track, or stalk its users. Rather, users are in complete control of their own content and have custom privacy controls. The site boasts a “Privacy Bill of Rights” that lists all of the ways Sgrouples allows users to maintain control of their own profiles. Weinstein says that Millennials who have used his site are happy with the concept of increased privacy and control. Do you think more social media sites should have a privacy policy like Sgrouples?


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26th Nov 2012 Posted in: YAYA Wire 0
College Students Make the Most of Upcoming Winter Intercession

By Ellen Brummer

It has probably been awhile since middle-agers, Baby Boomers and seniors have experienced the gleeful month-long break that falls between the fall and spring semesters of college. However, for 18-24 year old YAYAs, this vacation is still a happy reality. In fact, in the 2012-2013 calendar year, many of American universities’ intercessions last a whopping 5 weeks. What are young people doing with all this free time on their hands? Below, take a look at some of the popular alternative plans that college students are making for next month’s intercession – and they don’t involve watching TV on mom and dad’s sofa.

1. Study abroad.

Many students are opting to use their free month to travel around the world while simultaneously gaining school credit. More and more universities are developing study abroad intercession programs to facilitate this growing demand. For students, the benefits of using intercession time to take foreign trips are many. They are able to stay on campus during the semesters and not miss out on campus activities. They are also able to reserve their summers for jobs or internships. Speaking of…

2. Work their hometown jobs or internships.

This month-long break provides a great opportunity for college students to make a little extra cash by returning to their summer gigs. Especially for students in the retail or food service industries, the holidays are a time when shops and restaurants need extra help. Opting to work for an extra paycheck or two is a great idea for students who need some extra money for holiday gifts.

3. Take a condensed course.

Many college students will say that the intercession is longer than necessary and extends into January a little too far. For these YAYAs, a simple solution involves heading back to school a couple weeks early. In this extra time, some universities offer shortened or 1- to 2-credit hour classes that allow students to get a little ahead on their spring courseload.

4. Travel with family.

For families that are used to taking a summer vacation with their kids, winter intercession might provide an alternative time to do that. Depending on the destination, traveling during the winter can be more economical than popular June or July trips. It also allows families to spend time together without taking time away from their kids’ demanding summer sports, job or internship schedules.

So while you’re heading back to work after the New Year, YAYAs are darting off in the directions of travel, work and additional education. What are some ways that marketers can benefit from college students’ winter intercession plans? Can you think of any other popular winter break activities in your city?


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26th Nov 2012 Posted in: YAYA Wire 0
Black Friday Backlash

By Kyle Fiehler

In the run up to the mother of all shopping days, Black Friday has been a promoted trend on Twitter, garnering hundreds of mentions and hash tags per minute. But, there have noticeably been two sides to the conversation.

Wal-Mart announced it is opening its doors at 8 pm on Thanksgiving evening, prompting a wave of furry from employees of the nation’s largest retailer. They join Sears, Toys “R” Us, and many Target stores in opening their doors on Turkey Day.

In response, scattered amongst the predictable tweets boasting astonishing savings and unheard of markdowns, are articles like this one from the Wall Street Journal’s with the subhead “We Ruined Thanksgiving.” Wal-Mart’s planned labor demonstration is almost as widely discussed as deals for half-off 50’’ flat-screens.

According to Launch PDF file.

by the Families and Work Institute, these types of retailers tend to employ workers from either end of the generational spectrum. Of their employees, 39 percent are under 28 (Generation Y), and seven percent are over 62 years old. Both of these numbers are higher than the averages in other industries. This means high numbers of Millennials and elderly are expected to pry themselves from their families, sometimes as early as 3 p.m., in order to ready stores for crowds eagerly awaiting the 8 p.m. doorbuster deals. A Wal-Mart spokesperson has even publicly announced “consequences” for those workers scheduled to work Thanksgiving evening who fail to show up.

On the one hand, Millennials have the 10.8 percent unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This percentage would surely be worse if it weren’t for the various sales jobs made available by mega retailers, such as the ones opening their doors early on Thursday.

Yet Generation Y is entering the workforce in a time of near constant labor disputes by educators, dockworkers, confectioneries, even professional athletes and referees over wages and benefits. Wal-Mart employees have so far demanded higher wages and more affordable access to healthcare. Managers have called their actions unprofessional and even illegal, but are they just taking cues from those around them?

What do you think? Do Wal-Mart’s employees have the right to disturb business on one of the single most lucrative day of the company’s fiscal year, or is 2012 the year of abusing organized labor demonstrations?


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23rd Nov 2012 Posted in: YAYA Wire 0
Ever Wish You Could Erase That Picture You Sent? Now You Can!

By Taylor Deeds

 YAYAs everywhere text pictures to their friends, family, and significant others, but what about those pictures they wish they hadn’t sent? Maybe one eye looked smaller than the other or they had something in their teeth. Well now, Snapchat, an iPhone photo-messaging app, lets them send pictures they can easily erase.

With SnapChat, Millennials can take a picture with their phones, set an amount of time between one and 10 seconds, and then send it to a friend. As soon as the recipient opens the message, the photo is deleted from both phones once the allotted time has passed.

Since September 2011, when the app was launched, Snapchat has gained a huge following from the YAYA demographic. Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s founder says it not only receives 20 million “snaps” per day, but has also accumulated over a billion snaps total since 2011.

However, along with its popularity, speculations about Snapchat’s features being used for teen sexting has caused some tension. The whole idea that an inappropriate text can be sent and then promptly deleted without concern or evidence of it going viral is scary to some.

Spiegel responds by assuring that these concerns are not necessary. “The idea, really, is that the images expiring means that you can be really silly, really funny, really ugly,” he says. “And that’s a really powerful and exciting thing, especially to [the YAYA generation], who grew up with everything they’ve ever done retweeted, liked or forwarded all over the Internet.”

So, what do you think? Is SnapChat a good way for YAYAs to express themselves? Or, do you think this app is promoting inappropriate texting without the consequences?



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23rd Nov 2012 Posted in: YAYA Wire 0
Fast Foodies

By Moe Leneweaver

YAYAs are notorious for needing what they want when they want it, and they’re no different when it comes to food. They want food that is fresh and healthy, but they also want it on the go.

The “food movement” has cultivated much support from YAYAs. According to the study “Trouble in Aisle 5,” 58% of them are willing to pay more for food that is natural or organic. But this type of food isn’t known for being conveniently found at any grocery store. So, how can YAYAs consume fresh food quickly if they have to search for it?

Chipotle is one fast-food restaurant that provides YAYAs with a quick, healthy meal on the go. In advertisements, they emphasize fresh ingredients that come from ethical farms. The food is prepared in front of costumers while they wait in line, and the best part about a Chipotle burrito is they can eat it with one hand while still texting with the other. It’s the perfect combination of fresh and functional food. For all of these reasons, Chipotle has been ranked as the top fast-food restaurant among Millennials.

Often times, YAYAs are forced to choose between saving time and being healthy. This dilemma creates a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and business owners to meet these consumers’ needs simultaneously. What are some products you have seen that attempt to provide healthy and convenient food? How could they be improved?






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23rd Nov 2012 Posted in: YAYA Wire 0
Cyber is the New Black: The Millennial Shopping Holiday

By Katie Lynn Freehling

Black Friday—you either just shuttered at the thought or let out an eager squeal of anticipation as the day draws nearer. There’s just something about camping in sub-zero temperatures to claim the year’s best deals that draw the masses. The risks are high for the cutthroat shoppers, but also for the businesses and marketing teams that have spent months preparing for the moment of truth when the doors open early and the products begin to fly. Black Friday has made its way into American holiday history, but it’s got some competition that marketers should be aware of – Cyber Monday.

Just a couple days after the big bang in stores, hundreds of online companies will offer similar discounts that are available anywhere you can get wifi. Cyber Monday has proven itself worthy by more than doubling online sales figures since it inception in 2005.

This is good news for online only companies, as well as brick and mortar traditional stores that also offer online products. While Black Friday hasn’t lost its nostalgia consumers, Millennials are honing in on the cyber deals.

Let’s do the math. A) Compete with extreme-couponer super mom Martha for the last Wal-Mart PS3 or B) Turn on the iPad and click the buy button without even leaving your bed. There’s no contest! B is greater than A.

Millennials have grown up with two things previous generations have not: the Internet and dramatic advancements in mobile technology. Online shopping is second nature to YAYA consumers and their mobile devices have made the online shopping process even easier by allowing them to buy virtually anything anywhere.

What it comes down to is that if you sell your products online, you need to be taking advantage of Cyber Monday as a day to leverage your products and appeal to consumers. It’s probably not too long before this cyber holiday will begin to take precedent over good ole’ Black Friday. Will your business be cashing in on Cyber Monday this holiday?


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20th Nov 2012 Posted in: YAYA Wire 1
What's your Reputation; What's your Brand?

YAYAConnection welcomes Thomas Pagano as our first guest contributor. Pagano writes an open letter to the Millennial generation, challenging them to develop a strong online reputation and brand.

As college students prepare to join the workforce and begin a whole new chapter in their lives, you have to consider your reputation. Let’s face it, everyone, at some point, wonders how they are perceived by others. But, you also have to ask, just as you would in a marketing sense, “What is my ‘brand’?” There is a difference, you know, but they are so very closely intertwined.

Simply stated, your “brand” is what you say about yourself to friends, colleagues, teachers, potential employers and others. It’s what you do, what you’re all about, your values and culture. “Reputation,” on the other hand, is whatothers say and perceive about you. The intersection of the two is where perception often meets reality.

One thing is clear, as a friend of mine once said: “You can’t talk your way out of something you behaved your way into.” But, just like corporate entities, for example, behavior can be changed to either improve reputation or, at the very least, they can quit making dumb brand decisions that negatively impact reputation.

Everything you’ve chosen to do and have said up to this point is your brand, and it has led to the reputation you’ve inadvertently or intentionally earned for yourself.  Importantly, brand and reputation reinforce each other. It’s pretty simple.

But – and this is very important — if your “brand” and “reputation” – online and IRL — aren’t quite what you’d like them to be, make the decision to CHANGE them. They’re both fluid and can be enhanced over time. Just ask car companies, politicians and pro athletes whose reputations took a hit for some reason, but, after a bit of soul-searching and sincere brand modification, they bounced back bigger and better than before.

A friend of mine while growing up was a rebellious teenager, a lazy student, who became attracted to some pretty seedy kids, who engaged in some high risk behaviors. “Roger,” you might say, was one of those troubled kids your parents and peers warned you about. But, in time, Roger grew up.

As a very young adult, maybe 18 or 19 years old, he began to really understand his brand and realized his tarnished reputation needed to be repaired so he could pursue his goals of finding a good job, earning a comfortable living, having a loving family and enjoying his life.

Within a short amount of time, he turned his life around. He pursued his interest in software development – despite having no college education – worked hard, continued learning, and ultimately grew into a respected developer who patented his software, and became very successful. More importantly, he managed his “brand” carefully and sincerely along the way, which further enhanced his reputation among family, friends, colleagues and his customers.

Today, in his late 50’s, Roger has retired happy and is … let’s just say … very comfortable. He has lived a good, interesting and fun life, married and raised a family, and always gave of his time, energy and money to his community and various worthwhile causes.

Oh, I forgot to say that, along the way, Roger bought and built a dozen small cabins on several exotic islands in the Bahamas, which he rents to families on vacation today. I guess I don’t have to say that Roger clearly understood his brand early in life, and took great care to enhance and protect his reputation.

Thomas D. Pagano is the founder and principal of Mostrata Media Consulting Services, a strategic communications consultancy based in St. Louis. An award-winning radio and newspaper reporter, editor and columnist, and a 28-year veteran with global public relations agency Fleishman Hillard, Pagano also is a board member of Youth in Need and the St. Louis Media History Foundation, a mentor with venture capital firm Capital Innovators, and a member of the St. Louis Social Media Club and the Business Marketing Association.  


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18th Nov 2012 Posted in: YAYA Wire 0
NOM NOM NOM: Millennial Eating Habits

Charles Vila, VP-consumer and customer insights at Campbell Soup, and his team of researchers observe and engage with how Millennials eat. Millennials have the potential to help big packaged-food companies. Most of their efforts have been focused towards urban Millennials. Check out the original article below.

Charles Vila isn’t a millennial, but he sure spends a lot of time with them.

Mr. Vila, VP-consumer and customer insights at Campbell Soup, leads a team of researchers who spend hours with the young consumers, in return for cash or some other benefit. “We eat with them. We cook with them. We bar hop with them,” Mr. Vila said.

The reason? Mercurial and disloyal, Millennials have the potential to give big packaged-food companies fits. That’s why marketers like Campbell are deploying new techniques to study this generation of 18-to-34-year-olds, which at 50 million-strong are expected to spend $65 billion on consumer-packaged goods in the next decade, according to Pew Research.

Campbell has focused its research on a handful of urban markets, such as Boston, New York and London, that it calls “hipster hubs.” These are “food-forward locations where lots of Millennials gather,” said Mr. Vila. Through its immersion, Campbell has learned that Millennials approach life like “hunters and gatherers, where they go through life sampling,” he said.

Therefore, food marketers must “give them experiences that offer a range of things for them to sample.” For Campbell, that has meant a bevy of new exotic flavors and soups meant to mimic take-out meals, such as microwavable soups in pouches branded as “Campbell’s Go” that include flavors such as creamy red pepper with smoked gouda.

At PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay, researchers have studied Millennials by giving them special glasses equipped with a camera, which removes the distraction of another human. Millennial consumers “kind of clam up when you are with them,” said Christine Kalvenes, Frito-Lay’s VP-innovation, so the glasses enable the company to observe millennial behavior without physically being present.

And what has it learned? Millennials are looking for anything “out of the ordinary,” Ms. Kalvenes said. That insight explains some of the snack brand’s newest offerings, which include Dorito’s “Jacked,” a thicker chip that comes in flavors such as enchilada supreme. — E.J. SCHULTZ

Millennials are always looking for the next big thing. They like to be ahead of the curve. If there is a different, exotic food on the market, Millennials will try it. Not only try it, they will turn to social media and either rave about it or rip it apart. How does your business conduct research about Millennials?


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18th Nov 2012 Posted in: YAYA Wire 0
Millennials Understand Beggars Cannot be Choosers

Millennials understand that they need to take what they can get regarding their finances. As much as they would like to indulge in high-price luxuries, as everyone does, Millennials have become more realistic about their spending options. More and more Millennials are eating out less, living with their parents, becoming more responsible with homeownership, accepting whatever job they can get and doing charity work. Check out the original article here.

By most account, America’s young consumers are stereotyped as a selfish, impulsive, highly indulged bunch. More so than other age groups, Gen Y has been shown to splurge on restaurant meals they probably can’t afford, pamper themselves with impulse buys, and partake in “self-gifting” during the holidays. They’ve also been criticized in the workplace for focusing on their own needs rather than on-the-job performance.

But the idea that all millennials act the same way, or that millennials as a group are entirely self-centered and unwilling to sacrifice is just plain wrong. Here’s some proof:

They’re eating out less. Normally, young people can be counted on to frequently eat out at restaurants. In 2007, for instance, Americans in the 18 to 34-year-old demographic averaged 252 dining experiences outside the house annually. According to a new study from the NPD Group, the current average for that same age group is 202—or about one fewer meal out per week. Older consumers have always tended to spend more per restaurant outing than younger diners, but young people have traditionally gone out to eat more often. Not anymore. Adults in the 35 to 49 age group, as well as those in the 50+ demo are eating out more frequently than millennials.

(MORE: Will Millennials Change How Cars Are Bought and Sold?)

Some insight courtesy of USA Today:

“This is a shift of biblical proportions for the restaurant industry,” says Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at researcher NPD Group, which surveyed 2,400 adults 18 to 34 nationwide. “I’ve done this for 35 years, and we could always count on this age group as the biggest restaurant users. But not the last five years.”

They’re living with their parents. Granted, while many millennials don’t see this as much of a sacrifice—meals, laundry, and a roof over your head for free (and no curfew)—but surely many Americans in their 20s and 30s still living with their parents would prefer to be on their own. What’s stopping them from doing so is high unemployment and a sensible fear about living beyond one’s means and digging oneself into (even more) debt. More than 20% of Americans ages 25 to 34 are saving on rent or mortgage payments by living in multigenerational homes, and that percentage, on the rise since the 1980s, spiked starting in 2007.

(MORE: The Best Times to Buying Clothing)

beggar2They’re responsible about homeownership. Members of Gen Y aren’t bunking with mom and dad because they lack ambition or just don’t care about owning homes. While a large portion of millennials do eschew permanence and prefer the renting and sharing of everything from homes to cars to electronics, a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate surveyreveals that 75% of young Americans agree that “owning a home is a key indicator of success.” The study also shows that young people may not be as entitled as they’ve been portrayed, that they’re knowledgeable about the housing market, and that don’t want to rush into a bad decision by buying a home before they’re ready. Among the study’s findings:

• They are not the “all about me” generation as 71% surveyed believe that home ownership should be earned, not something they are automatically entitled to.

• 69% believe that the recent housing downturn has made them more knowledgeable about homeownership than their parents were at their age

• Gen X and Y want to make sure they are ready to own. 69% believe someone is ready when they can afford to buy while also maintaining their lifestyle. For 61% of respondents, the “readiness indicator” is when they’ve landed a secure job.

“This group of young adults is very much in tune with owning real estate,” Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens real estate brand, explained to the Chicago Tribune. “Their values are similar to their parents’. They don’t have any feeling of entitlement. They’re hard-working, and homeownership is important to them.”

And yet, unlike the masses who scooped ever-more expensive homes during the mid’00s real estate bubble, young people today are sensibly wary of buying property before they’re ready.

(MORE: Gen Y’s Take on Car Ownership: ‘Not Cool’)

They’re accepting whatever jobs they can get. Data shows that the majority of millennials are unemployed or underemployed in the U.S. Because professional jobs related to their college majors are difficult if not impossible for young grads to find, many are turning to jobs that don’t require a college degree—in retail sales, for instance. Sure, these may be jobs that a teenager could do, but many millennials with college degrees (and with college loan debt) are accepting work wherever they can find it, deeming that better than having no income whatsoever.

(MORE: The Declining Economic Might of the 18 to 34-Year Demographic)

They’re exceptionally charitable. Members of Gen Y are very likely to give their time, their money, or both. According to the Millennial Impact Report, last year 63% of Americans ages 20 to 35 volunteered for a nonprofit, 75% donated money to a nonprofit, and 70% said they helped raise funds on the behalf of a nonprofit.

Millennials are breaking the stereotype of being entirely self-centered. Many Millennials have become more conscious with their money and are willing to spend their time helping others. While going through the transitional period of becoming an adult and the reality of the economy hits home, Millennials really value every opportunity they are given. What other ways do Millennials seize opportunites?

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18th Nov 2012 Posted in: YAYA Wire 0
Economy stinks for many, but it's crushing millennials

The sky is falling! That might be a little extreme, but many Millennials feel that way. With Millennial unemployment almost at 50 percent, there doesn’t always seem like a light at the end of the tunnel. Young people are moving back into their parents’ house and spending less money dining out. Read this article from Today about the struggling Millennial Generation.

By Heesun Wee,

While the continued economic slump hobbles many Americans, the downturn is crushing young people.

Almost half of Millennials—those between 18 and 34—think they’ll be worse off than their parents, according to research from Demos, a non-partisan policy and research center.

And voters under age 30 in Tuesday’s presidential election identified unemployment (49 percent) and rising prices (37 percent) as the most pressing economic issues they face, according to the Pew Research Center .

All this is forcing some young people to skip one of their favorite past times—eating out.

(Read moreWhy More Millennials Go Part Time for Full Time Pay)

Among the heaviest restaurant users, new research shows in the year ending July 2012, millennials ate out 203 times annually — 49 times or 19 percent less than they did in the year ending July 2007, according to the NPD Group, a consumer market research firm.

“I’ve been doing this for 35 years and that has always been the case (millennials eating out). But not the last few years,” said Harry Balzer, NPD’s chief industry analyst. “This is all about how the economic downturn is affecting this group more than anybody else,” he said.

(NPD defines dining out as everything from a Starbucks latte to a full sit-down meal at a restaurant.) Dining out costs roughly three times more than packing a sandwich or eating at home.

“I always bring my own lunch to save money,” said Andrew Welsch, 28, of Long Island, N.Y. “My friends do the same thing. I still have to pay back my student loans,” he said.

A generation defined by debt
Young people are cutting back on daily expenses such as dining out because personal debt levels are rising. Among college graduates, two-thirds owe an average of $28,500 in student loans, according to the Census Bureau and the Institute of Education Science. Average.

Related: Hey Gen X, tell us how you are feeling about the economy

Many millennials are accumulating personal debt that spans unpaid student loans, credit card bills and medical expenses, according to the Demos report released last year.

With money tight, millennials voted this week with the economy on their minds. Voters under 30 also cited taxes and housing as important issues they face, said Scott Keeter, director of survey research for the Pew Research Center. He’s also an exit-poll consultant for NBC News.

Weak job prospects
Weak job prospects are also hurting millennials. The unemployment rate for 18- to 34-year-olds for October was 10.8 percent, higher than the national unemployment rate of 7.9 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Underemployment and low wages are problems too. More than half (57 percent) of young people would like to be working and earning more, and just half (53 percent) are working in their chosen fields, according to Demos research. Among millennials, more than half (56 percent) reported annual pretax incomes below $30,000.

With small incomes and little to no personal savings, many young people have delayed big life decisions.

Almost half (46 percent) have delayed buying a home, and nearly one third of millennials (33 percent) have postponed moving out on their own, according to Demos research. Welsch is holding off on getting an apartment with his girlfriend until after he completes his masters degree at the City University of New York.

Millennials have put off starting a family (30 percent), and a quarter has pushed back getting married.

Real happy hours
Welsch and others like him are riding out the economic downturn by reducing expenses such as dining out to celebrate birthdays. The gang used to gather at “a nice, mid-range restaurant — not McDonald’s,” he said.

But with the group unemployed or hours cut back, that tradition has been scrapped too. “We have to skip out on nonessentials like eating out, which is fun,” he said.

With so many young people struggling, there could be a ripple effect for the restaurant industry. Younger diners traditionally have helped define eating trends as early adopters. “This group has been influential in their choices,” said NPD analyst Balzer.

As a comparison, those aged 50 and older are eating out more since the depths of the 2008 financial crisis — 209 times annually this year compared to 197 outings for the year ending July 2007, according to the NPD Group’s research.

So while older Americans fill sit-down restaurants, you’ll likely find young people at bars, and enjoying a cheaper beer and snack.

“We’re a big fan of happy hour,” said Welsch. “If we’re going out for drinks, it has to be happy hour — or we wouldn’t do it.”

This all means Millennials are spending less and saving more. This poses a great challenge for marketers. Gaining the loyalty of a Millennial can be difficult, and the ailing economy is not helping. But, with strategic marketing, reaching Millennials is still possible. Millennials are still eating out more on average and still have vast spending power. They just spend it a little more wisely. What do you think – are you noticing Millennials are becoming harder to reach?


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