The Hashtag Army: Millennials Online

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Click here to download a PDF of The Hashtag Army: Millennials Online

NEW YORK If you’ve been following along with VM’s Millennial Project, you already know that Millennials (people currently aged 18-34) are the first generation of “Digital Natives.” Meaning, they are the only generation for which the internet, mobile technology and social media haven’t been something they had to adapt to. A digital world has been fundamental to their development; its language one they inherently understand. It doesn’t take much to realize if you want to engage with them as an audience you need to be tech savvy and hit them where they are—online.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported that Millennials are two and half times more likely to be early adopters of technology than older generations. Forbes sited a MasterCard survey that supports these findings, reporting that 53 percent of Millennials ranked technology as their top passion with computer and electronic stores ranked among their top five spending categories.

It isn’t surprising then to learn that nearly all in this cohort have a cellphone or that 83 percent say that they sleep with their smartphones. They are literally connected 24 hours a day.

As sharers, Facebook is where they are spending most of their time. Some 80 percent of Millennials have profiles and 20 percent update their status multiple times per day (as of December 2014), according to MarketingCharts.com. On average, they have 319 Facebook friends, while Boomers have an average of 120. After Facebook, 41 percent are on Twitter, 27 percent are on Instagram and 22 percent are on Pinterest.

And it when it comes to brands or the eyewear buying experience, it is worth noting that 55 percent of Millennials have posted a “selfie” on a social media site. In fact, Millennials stand out when it comes to producing and uploading online content—60 percent of them do, compared with non-Millennials who come in at 20 percent. Meaning their favorite brands and retail experiences get spread out over those larger networks instantaneously and the word spreads quickly.

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Vision Monday’s Millennial Project is well underway, but in case you’ve missed anything, let’s review. The Millennial Project is a year-long, integrated, multimedia initiative that will explore the characteristics of today’s Millennials to help optical retailers and ECPs better understand the influence of this game-changing customer segment, the influence that they’re having on the business and how essential it is to find relevance with these emerging eyewear and eyecare customers.

In January, we invited you to “Meet the Millennials” and introduced you to the “Generation that Defies Description.” This extensive overview of a demographic that is hard to pin down set the tone for the subject specific stories set to come throughout 2015. In February, we looked at Millennial Women with “A New Breed,” and of course in this issue, we’ve covered Millennials as digital natives.

These stories will be followed by four more targeted Front Lines features focused on topics like Millennial men; Millennials’ vision and Rx needs, their spending habits and how to market to them, as well as Millennial ECPs and how they shape their practices.

dcarroll@jobson.com

The Millennial Project resource site, located at www.VisionMonday.com/MillennialProject, is the destination for all things Millennial throughout the year. Currently housing all the content Vision Monday and sister publication, 20/20 Magazine, have produced thus far, it will be populated regularly with a curated selection of pertinent content from across the web of particular use to the optical industry. It will also contain up-to-the-minute information on the two VM Live Millennial Project events planned for this year.
The Jan. 19 cover story introduced the generation and laid the foundation for more in-depth stories to come throughout the year.
The Feb. 16 special feature shed some light on one of the most vocal sub-groups of the Millennial generation—women—with “A New Breed.”