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Brief Published: 30 Dec 2014

Millennials & Happiness

Millennials balance freedom and control

Millennials pursue happiness in a radically different way to their parents, according to a new study by global media services network ZenithOptimedia.

Today's young adults are technologically empowered, but they grew up during a global recession, which has caused them to shun the "free spirit" goals of the boomer generation. As a result, many millennials are pursuing happiness through a particular balance between freedom and control.

Instead of railing against control like their parents, millennials believe that control over their health, wellbeing, finances, career and social and family lives is necessary to earn freedoms and opportunities. They seek "meaningful experiences", rather than material goods.

The study identifies clear opportunities for brands to engage millennials by helping them achieve their goals. Brands should:

  • Help millennials to live more fulfilled lives
  • Allow millennials to give their best
  • Deliver meaningful brand experiences
  • Empower millennials to make wise decisions
  • Let millennials write their personal stories
  • Enable and facilitate control
  • Respect the brand relationship

Linda Tan, strategic insights director at ZenithOptimedia, said: "Brands that can help millennials achieve happiness stand the best chance of securing long-lasting and profitable relationships with this important consumer group."

The study heard from more than 6,000 millennials across 10 countries, including Argentina, Australia, China, France, Mexico, Russia, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the US.

For more on this demographic, see Demystifying Millennials, part of our reporting on The Future of Consumer Intelligence 2014.