Consumer Insights: ‘The Next Normal: An Unprecedented Look at Millennials Worldwide’

by Christian Kurz, Global Consumer Insights, Viacom

This large-scale global study takes an unprecedented look at Millennials worldwide, and more telling than the disparities was the consistency of the results. The landmark study – the broadest single study of the Millennial generation to date – spanned 24 countries, included 15,000 interviews and revealed four major global trends among young people today, from their high levels of happiness to their emphasis on family and community.

Key Findings

The global economic crisis is the #1 influencer on the Millennial generation.

A full 68% of Millennials worldwide feel personally touched by the global economic crisis.

  • This percentage increases in Spain (86%), Italy (85%), and Greece (80%).

Fewer global Millennials believe they will earn more than their parents – from 47% in 2006 to 26% in 2012.

Half of young people (49%) believe job security will continue to worsen and the the vast majority of Millennials (78%) would rather have a minimum wage job than no job at all.

Despite significant economic and unemployment concerns, the vast majority of Millennials are happy.

Over three-quarters (76%) describe themselves as “very happy.”

  • Millennials in Latin American countries like Mexico, Argentina and Brazil report the highest levels of happiness.

Millennials’ levels of happiness outweigh stress levels by a factor of over 2 to 1.

In terms of what drives happiness, family, friends and community are paramount.

Spending time with family is the top driver of happiness for Millennials today: 45% of all 9-30s globally say their #1 best friend is someone within the family.

Friendships, both real-life and online, are the second key driver of happiness.

  • Among Millennials, there is a trend towards smaller circles of real-life friends compared with online friends, which are skyrocketing.
  • Over the past six years, Millennials have maintained about the same number of best friends, but their wider circle of everyday friends is shrinking. On the other hand, they average well over 200 online friends, revealing a significant jump in the number of online contacts whom they consider friends but have never actually met in person.

“Glocalness” is a generational definer.

Millennials are displaying a growing sense of national pride and interest in maintaining local traditions. At the same time, they have an increasingly open and tolerant view of other countries and cultures.

  • 83% agree “I’m proud to be [X] nationality,” up from 77% in 2006.
  • 76% agree that it’s important to maintain their country’s traditions, up from 68% in 2006.
  • 73% think it’s great to have people from other countries coming to live in their respective home country, up from 51% in 2006.

The Millennial generation shares a sense of global community, newfound tolerance and flexibility, increased creativity and a powerful desire to share and connect.

  • 87% describe themselves as actively curious about the world.
  • 85% describe themselves as able to adapt quickly to change.
  • 93% globally believe it’s our responsibility to treat all people with respect, regardless of race, gender, religion, political viewpoint or sexual orientation.

The Methodology:

This study is based on a total of 15,000 interviews, in-depth explorations and expert commentaries with people ages 9-30 spanning 24 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.

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