How Are Centennials Different?

Generational differences are certainly nothing new. It’s very common for older generations to be unaware of, baffled by, or misunderstand the lifestyles, preferences, and decisions of young generations, teenagers in particular. However, in today’s technology-driven and rapidly changing society, these generational changes seem to be faster and more dramatic than ever before. This has often left older brand leaders wondering, “What do I need to know about Centennials in order to effectively meet what they’re looking for in a product, service, or experience?”

Here are some ideas about what is trending with Centennials right now, and what broader themes are behind those preferences that might be helpful for your business.

Apps are tremendously popular among Centennials. Although those surveyed often mentioned digital content in general and universally-used apps such as Instagram and YouTube, the other most popular apps among Centennials included Snapchat, Spotify, Vine, Yik Yak, Venmo, and Kik. Centennials also highlighted apps that have yet to gain mainstream popularity, such as Down to Lunch, an emoji-driven scheduling app;, a lip-sync and music video app; PHHHOTO, a moving photo app; Spinrilla, a free hip-hop mixtape app; Instasize, a photo-editing tool for Instagram; and Neko Atsume, a popular game for cat lovers.

Now that we know what are some of the most popular apps for Centennials, what can we infer from this to know how to more effectively connect with Centennial audiences?

One feature that many of these apps offer is that they amplify and supplement the way that Centennials use their other apps. This concept, of understanding what Centennials already love, then building upon and improving that, is a very promising way for brands to appeal successfully to this market. In fact, nearly three out of four Centennials agree that, “what makes you trust a brand is that it’s always creating new and exciting products.”

Another important quality to understand about the way Centennials interact with technology involves the multiple platforms they are constantly utilizing. Whether it is an image sharing or music or messaging app, Centennials expect to not only have access to these apps, but to be able to transition among them seamlessly in the midst of their busy lifestyles. As brands market to Centennials, they must consider how to do this across platforms and through different channels. This reflects the way that Centennials take in information.

Nearly half of Centennials report, “My life is too stressful.” Although having so much technology at their fingertips is unquestionably a good thing, it can also be overwhelming and exhausting for Centennials. While they do not necessarily want fewer options, they do want to be able to make decisions quicker, with more information, and be able to navigate different platforms with ease.