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06.06.2017, Durban

Unpacking South African Millennials

Unpacking South African Millennials

Globally Millennials are becoming well known for their self-centered focus, grand aspirations and collective mentality. GfK tested this global stereotype by analysing their various GfK owned data which included 2 longitudinal studies: Consumer Life, conducted across 27 countries worldwide uncovering consumer's values, lifestyles and aspirations; and FutureBuy, a macroeconomic study into the purchase habits of consumers across 25 countries. By comparing and contrasting the South African Urban Millennial with other generations as well as people of the same age in other countries, we found that our millennials both have their own identity and follow that of the global norms.

These young consumers, aged 20-34 in 2016, represent 14 million consumers or 27% of the South African population and are responsible for some large shifts in mind-set that have had a major impact on brands requirements to win. Our data supports global finding that these millennials are better educated, 84% of millennials have completed a matric or some level of tertiary education compared to the older generations of 58% and 11% have completed a university or other post grad degree as compared to 7%. With greater access to education they are more self-assured and believe that they control their own destiny, this self-reliance is revealed in their lower value in faith unlike previous generations in South Africa. Following this sense of control, they are more optimistic about their economic future. These consumers are strategic and determined, they know what they want and are aiming high. They strive for social recognition and status, especially high amongst males. Along with the rest of South Africa, safely and security is always top of mind. Authenticity is a key and emerging value as millennials move away from the very shallow and image focussed South African culture to something more real and meaningful. As with global norms these consumers show narcissist characteristics with higher value on self-interest, individualism and pleasure. Being young, sex and romance is characteristic, driven by females. Their main interests are cars and beauty products and unlike their global tribe, they have little interest in food. Foodie status can be given to South African GenX who are more leading edge and influential in most categories except for technology where the up and coming Centennials take the crown.

Our Millennial consumers have high expectations from brands and innovation. They want products that are tailored to their personal quirks. They love collaboration and like to be involved in making products more relevant to their personal lives. For these consumers disruption has become the norm and hence they expect marketers to come up with innovations that they didn't even know that they needed. Although labelled narcissists and hedonists they are very aware of the impact their brand choices make on others. They will take into consideration the impact that brands have on the environment, others and especially notice local expressions. They are looking for more simple solutions to their complicated life's problems and their quest for authenticity demands that brands are transparent, honest and are consistent in the stories they tell. With 65% agreeing that experiences are more important that possessions (against the 50% norm for South Arica) they expect that a brand gives them far more than function and that included in the benefit bundle is a memorable experience that they can post, tweet and tell because according to them "ïf it isn't on social, it didn't happen".

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